Edition 2, 2018
The importance of all girls’ education in state schools
By Karen Raven, Headmistress at Chislehurst School for Girls see p15
Innovative tech changing the face of mental health
Plastic tokens help enforce school rewards systems for children with additional needs
Exams – testing times
Bright Sparks – Using electricity as a context for developing talented young scientists
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Bringing coding and engineering to life with Marty the Robot
Bright Sparks – Using electricity as a context for developing talented young scientists
Moving on: are children today given too much say in the choice of senior school?
So much more than just making music …
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The importance of all girls’ education in state schools
Quibbling siblings: nearly three quarters of millennials want to outdo their sibling in life
Exams – testing times
20 Plastic tokens help enforce school rewards systems for children with additional needs
Leading charity launches new service to help schools support health and wellbeing
tech changing the face of mental health
Hard-hitting safety campaign aims to cut student accidents
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Education Secretary marks Mental Health Awareness Week in Hastings Damian Hinds visited Sussex Coast College in Hastings to learn about the mental health support services available through the Opportunity Area programme. Young people and parents are set to benefit from extended mental health services in Hastings, backed by a £600,000 annual investment from the government’s Opportunity Area programme. The funding will develop the advice and support services available for young people in Hastings to improve their emotional wellbeing at home, school or further education, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced during a visit to Sussex Coast College in Hastings yesterday (17 May) to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. Hastings is one of 12 Opportunity Areas identified as social mobility ‘coldspots’ which are receiving a share of £72million to raise aspirations and opportunities for the young people who live there. Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Young people in Hastings have told us mental health is one of their big concerns, and we know that it can have a real impact on their lives – that’s why the Opportunity Area programme is spending over £600,000 a year to improve training for school staff, increase access to local services and strengthen family relationships to boost wellbeing at home. During Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s important to hear first-hand from the people running these important projects in Hastings and from the young people who benefit. The more we can improve the support that is in place for them, the more likely it is that they will grow up feeling confident and positive about their future.” The mental health investment includes:
£100,000 per year to expand Hastings’ award-winning i-Rock service to five days a week from three as of September 2018. i-Rock offers a drop-in service for young people aged 14 to 25-yearsold providing them with advice on emotional and mental wellbeing, employment, education and housing; Around £250,000 per year to develop an emotional wellbeing service for schoolchildren aged nine to 14 that will offer training and expert clinical advice to clusters of schools, as well as supporting groups or individual children who are suffering from anxiety, depression, anger issues or those that are at risk of selfharm or eating disorders;
More than £250,000 per year to expand support for parents and carers in Hastings, including ‘Triple P – Positive Parenting Programme’, which aims to encourage parents to seek support where they need it and offers practical strategies to help foster healthy family relationships, preventing problems developing at home; and
Working with schools and colleges to identify the best approaches being used to supporting their students’ mental health and resilience, to share locally for the maximum benefit.
Multi-million pound investment in state of the art facilities for children with special educational needs. Schools to benefit from an extra £50million to improve facilities and create more good school places for children with special educational needs. The Government also announced a further £680 million to create 40,000 new good school places. Councils are set to benefit from a £50million funding boost to create additional school places and state-of-the-art facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), giving families more choice and helping to meet increasing demand. Alongside this, the Government has provided £680 million to create 40,000 more good school places in primary and secondary schools, building on the 825,000 new school places created since 2010. The funding boost comes as new analysis shows 91 per cent of school places created last year were in good or outstanding schools. The additional investment in school places for children with additional needs announced today (Tuesday 29 May) builds on the £215million fund announced last year to ensure children with SEND had access to a good school place. Today’s boost could help create around 740 more special school places and provide new specialist facilities to support children with complex needs, such as sensory rooms and playgrounds with specialist equipment. The combined investment is part of the £23billion being spent by the Government between now and 2021 to ensure every child regardless of their needs, background or circumstances has access to a good school place so they will be able to fulfil their potential. Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “All parents want to send their child to a good local school, one that meets their 4
individual needs and supports them to achieve their full potential, regardless of the challenges they may face. This funding will help to create thousands more school places across the country, with a clear focus on transforming the experience of education for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).” This announcement aims to remove some of the barriers to a good education for children with additional needs and make sure Britain is a country that truly works for everyone. The funding brings the total investment in new school places for children with additional needs to £265million, following the announcement of a £215million fund last year. Over half the councils in England will receive more than £225,000 to increase places or improve schools for children with SEND, and every council will receive at least £115,000. The Government has also today published new school places scorecards which show 91 per cent of all primary and secondary school places created in 2016/17 were in Ofsted rated, ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools. The scorecards show how many good school places councils have delivered, and how well they meet the demand of local parents. A National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) spokesperson, said: “The NNPCF are pleased to see the announcement from the Department form Education regarding an increase in the capital spending to increase places or improve facilities in schools for children and young people with SEND. Specialist provision continues to be under great pressure across the country and it is vital this money makes the greatest impact. We are pleased to note that local authorities will need to work with parent and carers to determine how it is most effectively spent.” Gail Walshe, Head of Parent Carer Participation at Contact says: “We welcome any increase in funding that will help inclusion of children with additional needs in mainstream schools. Schools have a duty to be accessible, but we know from calls to Contact’s helpline that this is not always the case. Some schools lack capacity in their specialist units, or do not have a quiet room for children with sensory issues or adequate changing facilities for children with personal care needs. We hope that this top up funding together with the £215m announced last year will help make a visible difference. Parent carer forums - networks of parent carers across the country - can help ensure this happens by working strategically with local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and others to make sure the views and opinions of families directly influence the services that affect them.”
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News These measures build on the Government’s reforms to improve the lives of children and young people with additional needs, through the introduction of the new Education Health and Care (EHC) plans, helping to ensure children have access to a world-class education, with facilities and support that meets their individual needs. Overall investment in educational provision for provision for children with SEND was £6billion this year, the highest on record. Earlier this year the Government launched a call for evidence looking at ways to improve educational outcomes for vulnerable children as well as an independently led exclusions review looking at how they are used and which children are most likely to be targeted. The Government is investing more than £23 billion in the school estate by 2021. The £680 million announced includes the basic need allocations for 2020-21, expected to create 40,000 new places. The new places build on the hard work of teachers and the success of the Government’s reforms, creating 825,000 new school places since 2010 with 1.9 million more children now in good or outstanding schools.
Measures to deliver quality education across all settings. A package of measures to help make sure children receive the best possible education either at home or outside of school were announced on the 10th April. The announcement will support the families of the estimated 45,500 children that are educated at home, providing parents and local councils with strengthened guidance so both understand their rights and responsibilities. A Call for Evidence has been launched to ask for the views of parents and local authorities on how to ensure children receive the expected standard of education at home, including:
• • •
How local authorities can monitor the quality of home education to make sure children are taught the knowledge and skills they need; How effective registration schemes are for children who are educated at home; and How government can better support those families who choose to educate their children at home.
The Education Minister also announced £3 million to support the joint working of local authorities, the police, Ofsted, the government and other agencies in tackling the minority of out of school settings that seek to undermine British values or expose children to other harmful practices. This work will help to share best practice across the country. Education Magazine
This announcement builds on the recently launched Integrated Communities Strategy, which had education at its core. It is part of the drive to ensure all children receive the best possible education, with 1.9 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 thanks to the government’s reforms and the hard work of teachers. Minister for School Systems Lord Agnew said: “Across the country there are thousands of dedicated parents who are doing an excellent job of educating their children at home, and many selfless volunteers working for clubs and organisations that help to enrich children’s education outside of school. It is right that we should build on the high standards we’ve set in our schools so that every child receives a suitable and safe education – no matter where they are being taught – and that we can act quickly in the rare instances when this is not the case. This support for families and local communities will help ensure all children get the education they deserve.” The Call for Evidence will run for 12 weeks and will ask for views from families that choose to educate their children at home, local authorities and home education support groups. The issues raised include the registration of children who are home educated and the monitoring of home education provision by local authorities. It will build on the existing requirements for local authorities to identify children they believe are not receiving a suitable education and their powers, which can ultimately include serving a School Attendance Order. The government is also consulting on revised guidance for parents and local authorities to support them in making sure home education provision is of the highest possible standard. This guidance will set out the processes by which local authorities should identify children who are being educated at home and how best to intervene if they are not receiving a suitable education. For parents, it will offer support and advice on whether or not home education is the right decision for them and their child, while also making clear the powers that local authorities have and the steps parents should take if concerns arise. The Department for Education has also published its response to the consultation on regulation for out of school settings – environments that enrich children’s education. The department has carefully considered over 18,000 responses and has already taken action by establishing a £3 million targeted fund which will go to selected areas to support work between local authorities and relevant agencies. It will be used to show how existing legal powers can be most effective in addressing 5
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safeguarding and welfare concerns, alongside community engagement and outreach. This work will inform the need for any future regulation. A consultation on a voluntary code of practice for out of school settings will be published later this year to set out what is expected of providers, and the Department will work with local authorities to provide guidance to parents on out of school settings.
New T Levels mark a revolution in technical education The first 52 colleges and post-16 providers to teach new T Levels were named on 27th May as Education Secretary Damian Hinds set out his vision for a world-class technical education system. T Levels are courses, which will be on a par with A levels and will provide young people with a choice between technical and academic education post 16. Courses in construction, digital and education & childcare will be first taught from September 2020. A further 22 courses will be rolled out in stages from 2021, which will cover sectors such as finance & accounting, engineering & manufacturing, and creative & design. In his response to the T Level consultation, also published today, the Education Secretary committed to working with businesses and learning from our international competitors to ensure these new qualifications lead to a generational shift in technical education. As the new colleges and other post-16 providers were named today, the Prime Minister said: “Everyone should be able to have access to an education that suits them, but we know that for those that don’t choose to go to university, the routes into further technical and vocational training can be hard to navigate. That’s why we’re making the most significant reform to advanced technical education in 70 years to ensure young people have gold standard qualifications open to them whichever route they choose. T Levels provide a high-quality, technical alternative to A levels ensuring thousands of people across the country have the skills we need to compete globally – a vital part of our modern industrial strategy.” Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “T Levels represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to reform technical education in this country so we can rival the world’s best performing systems. continues overleaf u
NEWS News News News NEWS News NEWS News For too long young people have not had a genuine choice about their future aged 16. Whilst A levels provide a world class academic qualification, many technical education courses are undervalued by employers and don’t always provide students with the skills they need to secure a good job - that has to change. Naming the first 52 colleges and providers where young people will be able to study the first T Levels is an important step forward, and we will continue the work with business and the education sector so everyone can benefit from these vital reforms. Technology and the world economy are fastchanging, and we need to make sure our young people have the skills they need to get the jobs of tomorrow. This is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. The consultation response confirms the highquality nature of these new qualifications – with:
Course content created by expert panels of employers to make sure young people have the knowledge and skills needed; 3 month compulsory industry placements that will give young people the experience and wider skills they need to be ready for the world of work; Standards assured by Ofqual and the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) so that T Levels remain high-quality and are valued by employers
Lord David Sainsbury, Chairman of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, whose 2016 report led to the current reforms said: “I am delighted with the excellent progress being made with the implementation of T Levels. For too long the only educational opportunity that many young people have had is to take technical qualifications that fail to equip them with the knowledge and skills that employers value, and that are needed to progress to higher technical education. We now face a major communication challenge, and all of us, who understand how valuable and important these reforms will be to the lives of young people, must now reach out to young people, their parents and carers, and employers, to let them know these changes are coming, and the exciting opportunities they will bring.” The wide-ranging T Levels consultation sought views from across the world of business and education, as well as young people themselves. Leading employers including Lloyds, IBM and Skanska all responded to the consultation underlining their strong support for new T Levels. Content for the first three T Levels – cocreated with employers to make sure young
people get the right knowledge and skills needed to get a skilled job – has also been published by the IfA this week. T Levels are just one part of a wider programme of work to transform technical education in this country to give people genuine world class choices when they are deciding on an academic or technical route. Alongside T Levels and the introduction of more high-quality apprenticeships, the Government is creating a network of prestigious Institutes of Technology (IoTs) across the country. IoTs will offer top-quality training and apprenticeships in higher-level technical skills - A level equivalent up to degree level and above - helping to bridge a vital skills gap in our economy in areas like advanced manufacturing, infrastructure and digital. The Government took another step towards establishing IoTs this week by announcing the 16 proposals that will now move on to the final stage of the Government’s competition.
Secondary state schools ‘excessively dominated by male headteachers’ Only 38% of headteachers at state secondary schools in England are women, despite the majority of teachers at those schools being female. The Oxford Open Learning Trust researched official statistics from the Department for Education, which show that 63% of all teaching staff in English state funded secondary schools are female - including headteachers. Despite this, just 1,400 of England’s 3,700 state secondary schools and academies are headed by women. The gender ratio for all secondary school teaching staff in England suggests that this should instead be closer to 2,330 female headteachers. Primary state schools, both local authority maintained and academies, have many more women at the helm with 73% - though the primary school teaching workforce is 85% female. Brian Crosby, CEO of the Hope Learning Trust in York, which runs several primary and secondary schools, said: “It is a waste of our most valuable resource not to see female colleagues develop into leadership at a rate comparable
with male colleagues. In Hope’s secondary schools we have five out of the eight senior positions held by female colleagues, but this should be mirrored across the country. “There are two main reason why, at secondary level, the number of female colleagues coming forward for headship is below the percentage for men. The first is maternity care. I have experience of asking female colleagues to apply for a position but been told they are about to start a family and do not want the responsibility at this moment in time. I have also recently experienced colleagues resigning from positions of responsibility because of home pressures. “The second is a lack of confidence that they can take the next step. It is sloppy to make generalisations, but male colleagues will often apply for something they are not ready for, whereas female colleagues need to be sure they can carry out the role. The work of groups such as Women into Education is addressing this issue and preparing women for the next step.” He added that there are points that schools themselves should begin to work to, in order to address the balance: “While in my Trust we have two male and five female schools leaders, we have talent spotted female colleagues who should be given an opportunity to progress to the next level. We also have provided mentoring and opportunities to allow colleagues to progress in a supportive environment. “Meanwhile, women with ambitions to become headteachers could benefit from an opportunity to act up to a position in a supportive environment before making the final decision whether to commit to the role. We cannot allow talented women not to fulfil their potential.” Dr Nick Smith, courses director and founder of the Oxford Open Learning Trust, said: “It is startling to see that the difference is so distinct, and that secondary state schools are so excessively dominated by male headteachers in what is a slightly femalebiased workforce. “Many people who study with us come to secure an extra GCSE so that they can then study for a PGCE to become a teacher. Many will eventually strive to become headteachers. “If ambitious women in education feel that the tide is against them at this early stage, I don’t doubt that it hampers the quality of our education system very severely in the long term.” For more advice for female teachers and schools from Brian Crosby, as well as further analysis of the statistics from the Department for Education, visit https://www. ool.co.uk/blog/gender-diversity-in-schools/.
Digital Health & Literacy Campaign 2018
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where they must teach Marty to walk using more simple movements like “lean right”, “lift left leg”, “move right leg forward”. This gets students thinking about simple sequences of operations, but also about how any walking animal balances and moves. There is a slightly mind-bending bit when we realise that one of our legs must move backwards in order to propel our body forwards.
However, it is also quite fiddly in places, and students with little patience may have difficulty completing it. Using nuts and bolts to join parts together and asking students to handle an exposed circuit board, the build is refreshingly different from more sanitised kits such as Lego Mindstorms - although it does require some teacher supervision.
It’s with challenges like this that Marty really shines. Get it right and Marty will take a step, get it wrong and Marty might fall over. It’s very physical and provides immediate feedback to the students. It lifts the coding off the screen and makes it real, and once the student has finished they can proudly proclaim that they taught a robot to walk! The walking itself is simplified by Marty’s design, so that it won’t fall over too often and that it is a tractable problem for a 10 year old.
Once built, Marty is connected to a WiFi network (such as the one provided by the included router) and a one-off calibration procedure followed to get him standing up straight and walking properly.
Once they’ve solved the basic steps, students learn about loops to make Marty take multiple steps. They should figure out how to make Marty turn. Parameters can be implemented to control the speed of walking and amount of turning. Defining functions can make it all easier to read. Conditions and variables can be used to make sure Marty takes a step with the correct foot. Quicker students can embellish the program and play around with flourishes, or can be asked to help out other students.
Holistic education The text-based languages like Python provide opportunity for greater control of Marty, and can be used to cover topics in maths as well as data structures, for example processing the noisy accelerometer signal to give better information on Marty’s
There are currently three versions of the Scratch interface: a basic one; an extended with more blocks; and a “walk challenge” version which has the walking blocks removed. The latter interface is used as part of a challenge to the students,
tilt requires arrays and algebra. Students could then potentially make more reactive walking algorithms. Information on tilt and motor force could be used to tailor walking algorithms to optimise for energy or stability. For those with access to a 3D printer, Marty’s parts are available to be downloaded, customised, and 3D printed. Marty can potentially be given a backpack to hold a micro:bit or given shoes that improve grip on slippery desks. Advanced learning At an advanced level, users can upgrade with an onboard Raspberry Pi, which lets you run the Robot Operating System (ROS) which is used in academia, and increasingly in industry. There is an example tutorial online of adding a camera and getting Marty to detect a brightly coloured ball, walk up to it, and kick it. Other users have added in Google’s AIY engine to make their Martys voice controlled. One small step Marty is an educational robot that’s different to the other offerings on the market right now however, probably the greatest asset of Marty is his character and personality. The delight of students as they make Marty dance, or figure out how to move his eyebrows to show a range of emotions, provides a really engaging way to get students using Scratch without really thinking about it. In the hands of a good educator the platform has enough depth that it can take this initial excitement and develop it into enthusiasm for STEM skills. Dr Sandy Enoch is the founder and CEO of Robotical, an Edinburgh-based Robotics startup who develop and manufacture Marty the Robot.
You didn’t go into teaching to become a lighting technician (that’s why we’ve created Opus System to deliver all the technical stuff!)
Simple lighting, sound and video projection for school halls and drama studios in one easy to use package. Find out more www.opus.technology 03330 142 109
Bright Sparks – Using electricity as a context for developing talented young scientists Amanda Poole is a Physics Specialist Teacher who has worked in both Primary and Secondary education. She also works with The Ogden Trust, developing resources to support primary science teaching and leadership. Amanda has worked with the Trust in planning their Primary Physics Professional Learning CPD programme (P3L) which is currently focusing on Electricity. There is no doubt that electricity is one of the most complex subjects to teach at primary level due to its abstract nature. Teachers can feel a sense of dread when they see this topic on the plan for the term ahead. Perhaps this is due to anxiety related to the fact the they never quite “got it” themselves when at school, or maybe they have a good understanding of the subject but find it very difficult to answer their pupils’ challenging questions at an accessible level. I suspect that it is most likely to be the prospect of the endless problems that come with investigating circuits when they don’t work properly and teachers constantly have to be in six places at once. Nevertheless, the subject of electricity is the perfect opportunity to develop children’s ‘Working Scientifically’ skills throughout the primary setting, ensuring that they meet age related expectations by the end of Year 6. Although electricity only appears explicitly in the National Curriculum for Year 4 and Year 6 there are opportunities for children to engage with the subject at all levels of primary education. From exploring static and electrical properties of materials in KS1 to Design Technology projects in KS2 that involve circuits - there is the potential for children to revisit ideas about electricity every year. There are the added advantages that in learning about electricity, children get the opportunity to find about the associated risks and how to stay safe as well as developing a strong sense of citizenship through discussing where our electricity comes from and why we shouldn’t waste it. When the theme of electricity is revisited yearly there is also fantastic potential for progression in ‘Working Scientifically’ skills across a school. The table shows how just a small selection of enquiries can provide
opportunities for children of all ages to practice different aspects of Working Scientifically, supporting progression in skills over the Key Stages leading to capable, independent enquirers ready for the next stage in their science education. Possible lines of enquiry linked to electricity
Year 1 Which materials will attract to a rubbed balloon? [Science: Materials]
Year 2 Which materials will let
electricity flow through them to light a bulb? How do we use materials to keep us safe when using electricity? [Science: Materials]
Year 3 What are the differences
and similarities between magnets and objects with static electricity? [Science: Forces]
Year 4 Which materials are
conductors, and which are insulators? How can you make electricity flow in a circuit? [Science: Electricity]
Year 5 What materials are used in
electrical appliances? How are materials used to keep us safe when using electrical appliances? What is the new material graphene and why so many people so excited about it? [Science: Properties and changes of materials]
Year 6 What factors affect how a
circuit behaves? How can we represent circuits in scientific diagrams? How have our ideas about electricity changed over time? [Science: Electricity]
Working Scientifically Focus •
To observe closely the natural and humanlyconstructed world using simple equipment where appropriate.
To use comparative tests to gather and record data to answer questions.
To use simple and appropriate scientific language to communicate what they do and what they find out.
To ask their own questions about what they notice.
To use identifying and classifying enquiry to gather and record data to answer questions.
To use secondary sources to gather and record data to answer questions.
To use simple and appropriate scientific language to communicate their ideas.
To ask their own questions about scientific phenomena.
To use appropriate scientific language to explain their methods and findings.
To select and plan the most appropriate way to answer a science question by carrying out pattern seeking enquiries.
To record observations as scientific diagrams.
To describe and evaluate their own ideas.
To use evidence from a range of sources to support and refute ideas.
To draw conclusions and raise further questions that could be investigated, based on their data and observations.
To describe how scientific ideas have changed over time.
To select and plan the most appropriate way to answer scientific questions by finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information.
To select and plan the most appropriate way to answer a science question by carrying out comparative or fair tests.
To recognise and control variables where necessary.
To record data using scatter graphs and line graphs.
To draw conclusions and raise further questions that could be investigated, based on their data and observations.
To describe how scientific ideas have changed over time.
Figure 2 Mapping opportunities to develop ‘Working Scientifically skills through the topic of Electricity
of backgrounds we can help challenge stereotypes and build Science Capital  in the children we teach. In addition, the Phizzi Practical activity cards include some interesting hands on practical tasks to engage children with the work of other historical characters such as making Michael Faraday’s Coin Battery or William Gilbert’s Electroscope. Additional resources from the P3L Electricity course also include activities to help create timelines, investigating how electricity has led to the age of invention.
Figure 1 Electricity is the perfect topic for bringing together Science and Creativity
‘How scientific ideas have changed over time’ is an aspect of the ‘Working Scientifically’ strand of the curriculum that is often overlooked. This is shame because the stories behind many areas of science are fascinating and immersion in these stories helps to make learning engaging and memorable for children. To support their Primary Physics Professional Learning (P3L) programme the primary team at The Ogden Trust have been developing resources to help increase ‘Ideas over time’ enquiries in the primary classroom. These are freely available from the resources section of their website [www.ogdentrust.com/resources]. Figure 4 Michael Faraday’s Coin Battery
affordable for all and Mildred Dresselhaus whose discoveries lead to the invention of the rechargeable batteries used in most home electronics today. Through learning about scientists and engineers from a range
Figure 5 Children collaborating to solve problems using circuits
Figure 3 Ideas over time Research Cards
For the electricity topic, these resources comprise of Research Cards that enable children to investigate some of the important characters that have helped shape our ideas about electricity over time. They include interesting characters such as Lewis Howard Latimer, a son of African American slaves, who helped make electrical lighting Education Magazine
The topic of Electricity really lends itself to thematic learning as it is so easy to link enquiries to everyday contexts. This provides fantastic opportunities for children to develop their problem-solving skills and work collaboratively. The potential to link electricity to the History curriculum through ‘Ideas over time’ activities also exists with the National Curricula for Design Technology, Maths, Computing and Art. Children can construct circuits to help solve a variety of problems or include them their artistic creations to help bring them to life, enabling them to see the value of their learning. If you are interested in developing your understanding of Electricity for Primary Classroom and getting more ideas about how to develop ‘Working Scientifically’ skills in your classroom, you should sign up to attend one of the upcoming Primary Physics Professional Learning (P3L) days. Workshops also explore creative learning opportunities with electricity and introducing the subject to the EYFS setting. For more information, please visit https:// www.ogdentrust.com/resources/primaryphysics-professional-learning References:  http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/ departments-centres/departments/educationpractice-and-society/science-capital-research
Moving on: are children today given too much say in the choice of senior school? In a society where places at high ranking senior schools are hotly contested, is it right that parents are allowing their children to become increasingly involved in the primary to senior school decision making process – ultimately leading to the potential for many to be unnecessarily exposed to the risk of disappointment?
friend, rather than their parent, has seen a significant shift towards providing our children with an alarming range of choices and options in life, which naturally extends to which senior school they’d ‘like’ to attend.
Times have certainly changed. Turn the clock back to the current generation of parents’ experience of moving onto senior school and the majority of us were more or less presented with a fait accompli as to our next school. Attendance at endless Open Evenings and planned Admissions events simply wasn’t an option. Your future was in the hands of your parents and changing schools was very far removed from the protocols in place today.
As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children find their way in life but with that comes a duty to take some of the angst and confusion away from some of the big decision making. As mature adults with the benefit of undoubtedly facing our fair share of challenges, we are better placed to begin the schools process on behalf of our children and engineering their valuable input at the right point in time.
One of the over-riding reasons for this has to be popular modern-day parenting techniques. The need to be a child’s
At Barrow Hills, we are 100% against pushing children towards a school with which they absolutely feel no affinity – our over-riding priority is and always will be, the happiness and well-being of our pupils. But I can’t help but feel that this trend for ‘empowering’ children to have a say in so many decisions has gone too far and is not necessarily adding to their overall contentment.
Our advice would be to recognise that the factors which might influence a child’s choice of school, are not necessarily the ones that count most! So, the fact that your child’s
best friend may be attending xyz school, or the amazing lunch that was served, or even the sought after uniform – while these are all important considerations, it would be safe to say that they are not the criteria on which an adult’s decision making would be based. So how should a parent go about choosing the right senior school for their child? Firstly, we would recommend limiting the number of Open Days that you attend together. Parents should put together an initial shortlist of appropriate schools and then these can be discussed as a family. Avoid getting into the unfortunate situation where your child falls in love with a school that you have already decided is not right for them. While Open Days can be useful, we would strongly advocate visiting a school on a normal day, away from all of the activities specifically designed to appeal to prospective parents and their offspring. Spend some time witnessing the behaviour of children at the end of the school day, do they seem cheerful? Do they appear motivated and stimulated by the lessons they have attended? Are they in a mad rush to leave the school premises? Most importantly, are there plenty of smiles and happy faces?
Acknowledge that a school’s reputation is governed by the people that run it on a day to day basis. Ask friends and colleagues about their personal experiences of the school and its teaching staff. Does a genuine warm and welcoming community await your child? How easy is it to access teachers to discuss any issues? Were they satisfied with how staff dealt with any problems?
not share the same belief system that your child has been brought up with, then it will never provide the right environment for them to thrive .
While friendship groups that have been established at primary school are important, recognise that these may not necessarily continue in a senior school setting. Aside from the obvious fact that as children mature, their choice of friends may change, there is also the practicality of larger senior schools putting children into different houses / sets so that in reality, existing friendships may be very difficult to maintain. Moving schools is a natural time to forge new friendships and sometimes, putting your child into a situation where he / she feels the need to be loyal to their old friends can prove stifling rather than reassuring. Don’t be tempted to put your child through the stress of sitting entrance exams unless it is for a school that you / they believe to be absolutely one that ticks all the right boxes. Too often, children are taking entrance test for a school that will only ever be the ‘fall back option’ and that is not in anyone’s best interests.
If your senior school choice is a boarding school rather than day school, your child’s input does become more critical as there will need to be greater emphasis on identifying a setting where your child will be comfortable and at home. Ultimately the most important point to bear in mind is to choose a school exclusively with YOUR child in mind and to base your decision making on finding the right fit for the individual needs of your son / daughter. Be realistic about the chances of being awarded a place; if their scores are scraping the border line for the requirements set by the school do you really want your child to be faced with seven years of struggling in lessons? Outside of the academic requirements it is also key for parents to feel that the ethos of the school matches the values they hold dear. Regardless of any reputation for outstanding success, if the school does
Prep schools which offer a seamless transition to a sister senior school have their advantages. Obvious benefits include the child already knowing the school and being familiar with it (it is probable that the schools will have already undertaken some shared initiatives) and of course, a similar ethos. It is also quite likely that there will be an automatic entry opportunity, which removes the stress associated with entrance exams. However, tempting as it is to opt for the uncomplicated route, parents do need to carefully examine if this is the best choice for their child, not just the easy one! The leap to senior school is always going to be a challenge. The role of a parent is to ensure that the move represents an informed choice by providing the voice of reason and understanding based on one simple fact – an innate insight into the child’s needs and abilities and a desire for them to thrive because they are happy and secure. This means stepping up to being a child’s best parent. Not their best friend. By Sean Skehan, Headmaster, Barrow Hills School in Surrey.
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Mr Stasio Sliwka, Director of Music at King Edward’s Witley, the co-educational day and boarding school for children aged 11 to 18, says, “Children who play an instrument or sing as part of an ensemble or orchestra are required to work as part of a team. As such they are not only honing their musical skills, they are also further developing their ability to perform in harmony with their fellow musicians.” Of course, a further advantage of being part of a team is the opportunity it brings to meet people. Very often, a shared interest in music can offer an excellent vehicle to forge new friendships, sometimes with individuals with whom a child would not necessarily usually socialise. This can bode well when a young musician makes the move from school to university – joining a music based society, orchestra or choir represents an excellent strategy to build those all-important friendship groups away from home. While some music instruments lend themselves particularly well to creating a collective sound, others might potentially be deemed as more ‘lonely’!
So much more than just making music … By Stasio Sliwka, Director of Music, King Edward’s Witley Without wishing to detract from the proud moment when a child reaches a certain level of competence and has developed the requisite skills to deliver a compelling performance, it is well-established by research that the benefits of investing in a musical education extend beyond the ability to play an instrument or entertaining an audience.
“To overcome this, at King Edward’s Witley we make a point of inviting pianists for example, to join an ensemble, providing our pianists with the same socialising / team building options. Much music is now available for piano ensembles with arrangements for up to 18 pianists on six pianos.” continues Mr Sliwka. “Equally, if a child elects to play a less mainstream instrument - for example the viola or bassoon - in any orchestra, school or otherwise, there is likely to be less competition to gain a place so we encourage children to take advantage of the extensive choice of musical instruments at their disposal at King Edward’s. Every new pupil is given the opportunity to learn an orchestral instrument with the offer of fifteen taster lessons.” In addition to playing together, being part of a musical ‘team’ brings with it access to a wealth of other non-curricular activities. The music department at King Edward’s is particularly proactive in arranging trips and events in this country and overseas. This means the children are often travelling together and spending significant amounts of time rehearsing for the regular programme of concerts involving the school’s talented musicians. “Watching our older pupils interact and support the young children from local preparatory schools at our annual successful Orchestra Day provides another example of the power of music - to overcome the stereotypical age divide which can so often prove a barrier to children communicating with each other during their teen years,” says Mr Sliwka.
impact on a child’s academic performance. The organisational, analytical, self-discipline and listening skills which are required to achieve success as a musician are regularly applied to other areas of a child’s learning journey. According to an article in Psychology Today (March 23, 2015) an October 2013 study found that Albert Einstein’s brilliance may be linked to the fact that his brain hemispheres were extremely well-connected. The article reports ‘The ability to use right brain creativity and left brain logic simultaneously may have been part of what made Einstein an incredible genius. More and more studies are linking musical training with improved brain function and higher academic achievement. Practising a musical instrument regularly engages all four hemispheres of your brain at an electrical, chemical and architectural level which optimises brain power.’ Venturing into the world of music can also be viewed in the context of learning a valuable life lesson, in that it is very much a discipline which demonstrates the importance of committing to a new skill. “You get as much out of music as you put in, which is why we at King Edward’s have such a strong emphasis on the need for regular practice. This year we’ve introduced timetabled practice for our musicians which is generally a slot before the official start of the school day and supervised by our Graduate Assistants. After the initial anticipated general lukewarm reception to this initiative we are now seeing 95% of our pupils really benefitting and because the children are able to witness the rewards for putting more effort into their studies, they are fully embracing the extra practices. Encouraging our pupils to practise by promoting the use of modern technologies, such as the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) apps is also helping. The school has invested in a number of iPads to ensure that pupils are able access this resource, which helps to overcome the loneliness sometimes associated with endless playing while also advocating a quality rather than quantity approach to practice,” Mr Sliwka comments. Finally, at a time when the mental and emotional health of children is high on the public agenda, the considerable therapeutic benefits of music must not be overlooked. When a child is playing an instrument, or using their vocal talents, it provides a welcome chance to break away from the stresses of the day and to focus on something totally different. It is no coincidence that music features as a recognised therapy in a hospital or healing environment …
Social skills are not only developed in terms of building bridges with a pupil’s peer group. The one-to-one tuition which goes hand in hand with learning a musical instrument also encourages children to enhance their ability to communicate with adults. For those pupils who are boarding at school, this can represent valuable quality time with an adult and a chance to experience the undivided attention which children can sometimes miss when separated from their regular home life.
“We have put a lot of effort into creating a welcoming environment within the music department and it is definitely paying off. It has been interesting to note that during examination periods, when most pupils will experience some degree of anxiety, we see many of our musicians putting in extra practice as a means of escape which helps them to find their inner calm,” Mr Sliwka concludes.
Beyond the social skills associated with learning a musical instrument there are other well documented benefits which are proven to
‘Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything’
So, it seems there is indeed truth in Plato’s saying …
The importance of all girls’ education in state schools By Karen Raven, Headmistress at Chislehurst School for Girls
As the debate over single-sex education continues, Karen Raven, Headmistress at Chislehurst School for Girls in Bromley, South London, cites the importance she believes all girls’ education plays in preparing young women for 21st century Britain and in closing the careers gap still persisting between men and women... Mention all-girls schooling and the image that is often conjured is that of an Enid Blytonesque setting, hockey sticks and ginger beer abundant. In the past months, single sex education has hit the headlines for more negative reasons with the court of appeals overturning the earlier judgement of the high court and declaring that Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham caused unlawful discrimination by separating the two sexes. Controversies regarding ultra-orthodox Jewish schools have also been rife, with the government called
at Cambridge were female. With these subjects generally leading to higher paid jobs, it is essential that we support girls in entering them if our society is truly to be an equal one.
“Not only were the girls far more confident, they were actively encouraged into and subsequently were far more likely to choose subjects traditionally viewed as masculine, such as the sciences or maths. ”
to act on the up to 1,500 boys currently estimated to attend unregistered schools. Following the Al-Hijrah judgement I was pleased to read Amanda Spielman’s defence of same sex education stating the crucial role that it plays, particularly for girls in building self-confidence and preventing them from ‘selecting themselves out’ of subjects viewed as more masculine. This is something which, over the almost 20 years that I have been a senior leader in girls’ state schools, I have witnessed firsthand. When I first became a deputy head at a girls’ school back in 1988, I noticed the immediate difference between other schools at which I have taught.
In 2017 it is shocking that we still see such a divide in the subjects and careers to which boys and girls gravitate towards. Despite gaining a higher number of A and A* grades only 21.5% of entrants to A-level physics last year were female. Similarly, despite more women attending the university overall, less than a third of successful applicants choosing to study engineering, maths and computer science
At Chislehurst School for Girls I am proud of the work we do in developing young women in order to become modern, capable citizens, who are prepared for life in the 21st century. Our students are encouraged to study all subjects and whilst humanities are a key strength, I am proud that the number of girls studying STEM subjects in our mixed sixth form is well above the national average. In recent years we have seen our female students go on to study subjects including computer science, maths, chemical engineering and biochemistry, demonstrating that the confidence we strive to instil lower in the school has a tangible effect on students’ aspirations well beyond their GCSEs. So to those who may believe single sex education has no place in 21st century Britain, I would point to our wellrounded confident students as a prime example of the success that single sex education can bring to young women in a society which in so many ways still undervalues them.
Quibbling siblings: nearly three quarters of millennials want to outdo their sibling in life • Nearly two in five adults still
feel rivalry with their sibling, with nearly one in five at least as competitive now as during childhood
• Females are the most
competitive with their siblings in virtually all areas of life, including income and family
• Millennials are the most
competitive age group, especially when it comes to education and career progression
• More than one in ten Brits
would feel upset if their sibling was more successful than them
Nearly one in five Brits (19%) feel at least as competitive with their siblings now as they did when they were younger, a new study has discovered. Research by distance learning provider, Oxford Open Learning Trust, has explored rivalry between siblings, looking into the main areas of competitiveness between relatives and how people feel about their family members’ success. The study of 1,000 UK adults, all of which had a sibling, found that millennials are the most likely to feel competitive with their brothers and sisters, with nearly three quarters (73%) of 18-34s admitting to wanting to outdo their sibling. The rivalry continues for many siblings as they get older too, with 35% of over 55s feeling a sense of competition with their brother or sister. This fighting spirit appears partly dependent on the number of children within a family, as people with just one sibling are the most likely to have never felt this type of internal competition (56%). On the other hand, in larger families competitiveness appears to grow over time. One in seven people (14%) with five siblings reported increased rivalry since childhood, with this figure falling steadily as family size reduces. The study revealed that the most common cause of competition is income, with nearly a quarter (24%) claiming they are conscious of how much their sibling earns. In particular, it is females who are the most aware of sibling salaries (26% versus 22% of males) and they are generally the most competitive across all areas of life, including
family (21% versus 16%) and education (14% versus 12%).
The top five areas of sibling competition are:
1. Income – 24% 2. Family – 19% 3. Career progression – 18% 4. Life milestones (e.g. buying a house) – 16%
5. Sport – 15% Millennials are the most concerned about academic and professional comparisons, with the youngest generation the most competitive when it comes to education and career progression. Three quarters (75%) of 18-24s said they are likely to return to academia in the future, with this number declining through the generations. People with three (63%) or four (61%) siblings are the most enthusiastic about picking up their studies in adulthood, while the residents of London (66%) and Glasgow (60%) are the most likely to feel this desire to continue learning. The study also delved into the emotional impact of sibling success, with one in ten UK adults confessing that they would feel disappointed (9%), upset (11%), angry (10%) or embarrassed (9%) if their sibling was more successful than them. This is particularly true of the younger generations, with nearly a quarter (23%) of 18-24s feeling angry when outshone by a
sibling, compared to just 1% of over 55s. Success is also partly dependent on a child’s place in the family – oldest, middle or youngest. The study found that 18% of UK adults feel the last-born child will reach the greatest heights, compared to just 4% for those in the middle, and 15% for the oldest sibling. In fact, Wales and Northern England are the only regions where older siblings are believed to have brighter prospects than their junior family members. Dr Nick Smith, courses director and founder of the Oxford Open Learning Trust, said: “Trying to outdo your sibling during childhood is part and parcel of a family environment, but our research suggests this element of competitiveness often remains, or even grows, as people get older. “In larger families, this rivalry can prompt negative reactions, with those with more than five siblings the most likely to feel embarrassed or disappointed by their relatives’ success. It is important that people endeavour to support their family members and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. “It was interesting to see that it is the younger generations who judge themselves the most on educational achievements. While people should generally strive to not compare themselves to others, it is healthy to see young Brits feeling so strongly about academic success”.
To test how competitive you are with your sibling, take our quiz here: https://www.ool.co.uk/
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Exams – testing times
Unsurprisingly, that examination is generally regarded as a charade and the PhD it awarded, a foregone conclusion. By contrast to Cambridge of the 1920s, GCSEs and A-levels are supposedly ‘rigorous’ and objective; but are they? Had Russell and Moore not been intimidated by Wittgenstein’s reputation, they might not have awarded the doctorate and perhaps philosophy would have lost a character of genius who, arguably, has exerted a far greater influence on philosophy than his ‘supervisors’. However, we might justifiably ask how much talent – or more importantly how much creativity – is lost, or at best hobbled, because of our obsession with paperthin qualifications and focus on a narrow bandwidth of capability?
Kevin Avison, Executive Officer at Steiner Waldorf Schools’ Fellowship
Every teacher will have encountered pupils who showed great ability but failed to perform when faced with formal examinations. Formal testing involving scripts written to answer sets of formulaic questions of more-or-lesser detail and complexity remain a bedrock activity. Particularly to mark the threshold from statutory school age to the world of adult study or employment.
Kevin qualified as a state-trained teacher in 1973. He taught for five years in the state sector and then for five further years at a Steiner Waldorf home school. Subsequently, he then spent 11 years at Ringwood Waldorf School.
Reforms, such as the introduction of coursework and continuous assessment, have tended to be treated with a suspicion. The brief flurry created by Mike Tomlinson’s 1996 report into reform of the curriculum for 16-18-year-olds fell at the first gust of “abolishing the ‘gold standard’ of A-levels” (Michael Howard), despite the wide support among educators for his proposal to introduce national diplomas.
Kevin was the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship representative at Ringwood from 1984 until he was elected to the Fellowship Steering Group in 1989. In 1993, he was seconded to help establish the Steiner Waldorf Schools Advisory Service. During this time, he wrote a handbook for Steiner Waldorf class teachers.
Written examinations have changed little since those ordered by the Empress Cixi during the first century BCE for entry into the Manchuan civil service via the Imperial Academy. Although progressive and meritocratic in its time, the system has acted as a mechanism to channel those who might become the intelligent disaffected into higher status occupations, reinforcing conformity to permitted intellectual norms and as a weld between instruction and the world of work.
In 1993, Kevin became the founder teacher at Alder Bridge School while continuing his work for the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship before moving to Stourbridge in 1999. He has been a full-time member of the SWSF Executive since.
The Chinese system found its way via European contact with China during the 16th century, and was taken up energetically by the Jesuit Order before being introduced to the nations of Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. The first national exam system came about through the Prussian unification of Germany in the form of the Abitur, which is still in operation today.
According to anecdote, towards the end of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s doctoral viva voce, conducted by philosophers Bertrand Russell & G.E. Moore, Wittgenstein tapped the two dons on the arm with the words, “Don’t worry. I know you’ll never understand it.”
I suggest the fact that high stakes, academic examination has such a long history lends it a spurious methodological credibility, reinforced by a closed circle of thought. Gatekeepers for higher education and the main professions are, with few exceptions, successful beneficiaries of a traditional
system of assessment and the advancement associated with it. Such systems, however, are methods of exclusion: most obviously, they define winners and losers, but they also define which subjects and learning styles will be officially approved. In the hands of a dictatorship, assessment of this type becomes especially dangerous: a ‘pass’ is likely be predicted on proof of ideological purity. In the UK, a classics-based ‘liberal education’ may have served the past, i.e. when education still held a lingering Christian religious ethos, with little evident vocational purpose. Unfortunately, the fundamental model lingers on, although demonstrably inadequate in a world of increasing diversity and fluidity (see Zygmunt Bauman’s Fluid Times).
Rapid social and technological change brings with it decay of both stable ethical codes and any handme-down cognitive framework. It is a commonplace tragedy for national education policy, particularly in England, that it is powerfully directed by politicians of every persuasion who, as the ‘successful’ products of the system, appear incapable of thinking, ‘outside [any conventional] box’, lack imagination of emerging futures and, despite using the language of innovation, fight shy of independent educational research, experiment, or creative response. Unsurprisingly, we end up with conventions that fail the majority of children, leading, in the name of ‘rigour’, to a growing population that has been schooled, without becoming educated, trained but not cultivated. Socalled solutions increasingly look like those of Einstein’s ‘fool’ – ‘one who performs exactly the same action repeatedly, in the expectation of a different result’. Although Steiner Waldorf schools that provide formal examinations achieve results generally above national averages, they do so while continuing to offer young people a wide cultural and practical curriculum, with emphasis upon the experiential and explorative. This involves considerable compromise with what is a rich general curriculum that can provide young people with a comprehensive practical, socialemotional and academic education. As a result, some of our schools have adopted a system of Steiner Waldorf curriculum certificates, recognised as equivalent to GCSE and A-levels in New Zealand (with level 3 transferable via the Lisbon Convention). Simultaneously, the Steiner Waldorf Schools’ Fellowship has been the lead partner in an Erasmus Plus funded project, Acknowledging Creative
Thinking Skills, working with Steiner Waldorf school associations for Denmark, Finland and Norway. Our other partners, the Ofqual registered awarding body, Crossfields Institute, has a proven track record in providing validated qualifications that, much as the Tomlinson Report recommended, involve a mix of assessment procedures: course work, specific practical and academic projects, product assessment (including recording, video, etc.), interviews and peer assessment and moderated teacher assessment as well as essays. Our proposed Diploma in Integrated Education allows some subject specialisation but within an overall crossdisciplinary approach that suits the cultural range and depth of the Steiner Waldorf curriculum. Our diploma is designed so that it could be also adopted by non-Waldorf schools. Our thinking corresponds with that of many other progressive educators. It was partly inspired by the Global Science Initiative (via an Atlantic Monthly article by Michael Barber) and accords with a view set out in Professor Howard Gardner’s 2011 book, Five Minds for the Future. In this, he draws on decades of research into education and cognition to set out five essential capabilities for education, training and continued development in work:
The need to have mastered at least one discipline, which, incidentally, he suggests should be assessed with the sort of methods I indicated above The need to be able to synthesise, or bridge between subject boundaries, transferring skills and identifying fresh solutions to questions through that interface The need to develop our intrinsic creativity (indicated in the previous point), without which workers are almost certain to replaced by the power of computing The need to develop respectful relations with others and the world in general, since the technological advance calls for greater interpersonal recognition of the rights and agency of others
The need to develop a strong and supple morality, an ethical sense, to guide our use of the potential that is and will be increasingly at our disposal and without there can be no proper environmental sustainability or responsive humanity Education fit for this century is still emerging and national systems have, so far, failed to catch up with that process. However, while countries such as Finland are developing radical and integrated programmes of
study and assessment, England remains relatively backward-looking (there are more progressive initiatives in Scotland and, recently, Wales). Whatever shape reform takes, educators must reckon with helping to remove the obstacles that lame the innate creativity of childhood, supporting a sustainability of human, and humane, potential as well as that of environment. It is no longer adequate or acceptable to learn in the way ancient Manchuan teachers would have done. We need to ask: can students apply what they have learnt in varied situations, can that learning be transferred to real-life and are students able to innovate from that foundation? In short, we need education to promote ‘competences’ in this, the sense in which our continental neighbours use the term, learning for life and to stimulate life-long interests. To sum up, in the words of mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead: ‘Knowledge treasured as the gift of education is really only useful as a catalyst for the student’s creativity. Not used for this purpose, knowledge simply amounts to inert ideas’. N.B. The views expressed are that of the author.
Plastic tokens help enforce school rewards systems for children with additional needs Sam is a freelance writer whose career spans many disciplines. After 10 years working as an awardwinning copywriter in London advertising agency TBWA, Sam relocated to NYC to develop a freelance writing career. On returning to London she began writing on-air content for the BBC and Sky, before moving again – this time to the north of England. Here, she switched from TV, radio and poster creation to digital content writing, and is currently enjoying working as a features editor in one of Sheffield’s top agencies. Having worked on multiple high-profile brands across all sectors including: health, finance, lifestyle, travel and construction, Sam has a particular interest in writing for the education sector. As a parent to a child on the ASC spectrum, she finds it rewarding to write for education-related clients such as TokensFor on the benefits of token economy and is passionate about encouraging schools to develop inclusive learning platforms to suit children of all needs. House point systems have long been employed in schools, proving to be an effective way of encouraging and motivating pupils. Intangible rewards, in the form of verbal or written praise, are commonly used,
with most children understanding that a point from the teacher is equivalent to a merit. However, children with additional needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), working memory or attachment difficulties can find it hard to understand that such praise equates to future rewards. When looking into ways to tackle this problem, some teachers have found that using ‘concrete aids’ — objects that pupils can see and physically hold — are a productive way of reinforcing that the praise is real. These tangible rewards, often in the form of a token, help to form a ‘contract’ between the teacher and pupil. Tokens have been noted as having a measurable impact in the classroom, particularly for children with additional needs. Educational psychologist Dr. Jemma Taylor describes plastic tokens as a useful classroom aid for teachers working with children who display attachment difficulties.
Dr. Taylor says: “There’s evidence to suggest that ‘concrete’ resources such as plastic tokens could help enforce the rewards system in school. Children experiencing difficulties with attachment often need help trusting that they’ll actually get the reward that they’re promised. If they’re physically handed something that they can actually hold in their hand, it helps them understand that they’ve been rewarded.” Trust-building strategies for children with special educational needs have been very successful, and the use of a ‘token economy’ system is particularly common among teachers of children with ASD. A token economy is described by Educate Autism as a ‘system for providing positive reinforcement to a child or children by giving them tokens for completing tasks or behaving in desired ways’. 20
The principle behind a token economy is that children are able to ‘earn’ tokens by behaving in certain ways, known as ‘target behaviour’. As the target behaviour may differ from child to child, tokens can provide a convenient way to achieve an inclusive reward system for pupils of all abilities and needs. For example, one child’s target behaviour may be based on an academic task, such as achieving a certain score in a spelling test. The target for another child with additional needs could be anything from concentrating on a task for a specified time, sharing and working nicely alongside peers or even greeting the teacher in the morning. As all pupils will be working towards earning tokens for their own target behaviour, the system allows teachers to apply a blanket rule to the class — i.e. good behaviour equals reward. This helps to produce an inclusive environment without needing to single out particular children or behaviour. Pupils who earn tokens can then exchange them for activities or items, and the teacher can adapt rewards to suit different children. For example, some pupils will respond well to additional break time or time out of class to play a group sport or watch a film, while others will prefer a small gift or time to engage in an individual activity. Another benefit of using tokens is that the reward can be offered instantly, something that is particularly beneficial when encouraging children with additional needs. Amanda Wood, principal psychologist at Real Therapy Solutions, says rewarding target behaviour ‘immediately’ is highly important, as it allows the child to make a connection between their actions and the reward. Working towards a bigger prize can be a difficult concept for children with additional needs, says Amanda. The token itself is not continues overleaf u Education Magazine
Plastic tokens help enforce school rewards systems for children with additional needs
positive. It also works to motivate children to continue with that behaviour in the future.” The Autism Helper has some helpful dos and don’ts for effectively implementing a token economy in the classroom:
Amy Coghlan, from plastic tokens supplier TokensFor, said: “The feedback we’ve had from teaching professionals is extremely positive. Tangible rewards as part of a token economy system are very helpful in instructing children with particular needs how to manage their own behaviour. Receiving a physical token of praise has been proven as an excellent way of reinforcing that the behaviour a child has shown is
Set goals that are too high or involve too many behaviours — pupils will be overwhelmed and unsure of what is expected of them.
Stick with the same goals for too long — once targets are met, set new challenges.
Overcomplicate — pupils need an instant understanding of what is expected of them.
Allow students to accrue too much debt — deducting tokens is fine if there is a realistic way for them to earn them back, otherwise there will be little incentive.
Be consistent with all students and in all subjects/classrooms — pupils will engage much better if they feel that the rules are fair.
Ensure pupils understand what is expected of them to earn a reward — clear guidelines are much more likely to achieve a result.
Give praise while awarding a token — the whole concept of token economy is that pupils feel rewarded.
Record how children are responding to the token system — if they aren’t responding, you may need to adjust their target behaviour.
Pick age-appropriate tokens — different age groups will respond better to certain types of token.
the reward — it simply helps the child to see they are making progress toward a more significant prize when they display their target behaviour.
Forget to follow through with reinforcers — why strive to achieve a reward that never materialises?
Creating a truly inclusive classroom environment can sometimes feel like a distant dream for teachers, especially when faced with a year group of children with extremely different needs and abilities. Although seemingly small, tokens have been seen to make a huge difference to managing the behaviour of primary-aged children. Most children respond well to an element of structure, and having guidelines in place that can result in physical reward not only provides an incentive for positive behaviour, it also helps breed a feeling of mutual appreciation between pupils and teacher.
E21C joins forces with the William Willett Learning Trust Multi Academy Trust, E21C (Education for the 21st Century) is delighted to announce that it has been joined by the William Willett Learning Trust, following approval from the Secretary of State for Education. E21C, based in Bromley, South East London, now comprises eight schools from both the Primary and Secondary phase. The Trust is now responsible for the education of over 5,000 children between the ages of 5 to 18 years.
The existing schools of E21C are: The Ravensbourne School, Eden Park High School, Mottingham Primary School, Scotts Park Primary School, Blenheim Primary School and Spires Academy. Coopers School and Mead Road Infants are now part of this wider family of schools. E21C Trust has a strong ethos of promoting individuality for students and constituent schools, with a clear focus on developing comprehensive and effective strategies for school improvement.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome the staff, students and parents from Coopers School and Mead Road Infants into the E21C family,” says Paul Murphy, CEO of E21C. Mr Murphy adds, “E21C is now keenly looking forward to continually developing our school improvement work to the benefit of all the schools within the Trust.” E21C has an experienced and dedicated group of Members and Trustees, all of which can be found on E21C’s website: www.e21c.co.uk
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 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. These can be triggered via a range of wired or remote methods, such as wireless remote control, mobile phone, PC or multi-button control panel. 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
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.
Leading charity launches new service to help schools support health and wellbeing Leading charity Aquarius has launched a brand new service to help schools utilise the pupil premium to provide specialist support for young people affected by mental health issues and problems arising from alcohol, drug and gambling misuse in the home.
Figures from NHS Trusts across England reveal that over 100,000 children were turned away from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) between 2015 and 2017, with an average of 150 pupils a day not getting the support they need. This research is supported by statistics from the Care Quality Commission Report 2017 which shows that those accepted were still waiting up to 18 months to be treated.
Recent research by Aquarius Life also reveals that 83% of all employees in the education sector have experienced stress or pressure that they are struggling to cope with. To support these employees, Aquarius Life also provides important training and CPD for teaching staff, staff wellbeing programmes, policy development for schools and support for parents and carers, as well as coordination and referral services between other agencies.
With no waiting lists, Aquarius Life provides early intervention and multi-disciplinary behavioural support to build resilience in young people, improve life chances, reduce absenteeism and exclusion rates, and improve results for secondary schools. Specialist services include one-to-one and group support, counselling services and prevention and information workshops, which can be funded using the pupil premium.
Annette Fleming, CEO of Aquarius, comments: “Thousands of children every year are not getting the help they desperately need and teachers are struggling too. That’s why we have launched Aquarius Life to help schools provide the right support, at the right time, to those most in need.
Aquarius Life also contributes to PHSE education programmes by covering topics in the core themes of ‘health and wellbeing’ and ‘living in the wider world’ and also helps schools and colleges demonstrate their commitment to SMSC development and meeting the SMSC Quality Mark.
“We take a partnership approach to improving lives and life chances by providing immediate access to a range of specialist services that meet the specific needs of the individual and the school. And, as a charity, we are able to help teachers maximise the available pupil premium by providing costs effective solutions.”
Aquarius Life is part of Aquarius, a charity that has been providing specialist support services relating to alcohol, drugs, gambling and mental health to children, young people and professionals for over 40 years. For more information on Aquarius Life, visit aquariuslife.org.uk. Alternatively, call 0121 622 8181 or email aquariuslife@aquarius. org.uk. Aquarius Life is a specialist health and wellbeing organisation, working with businesses across all sectors and educational organisations to create a culture of wellbeing. It offers a tailored range of support services for management, employees and students, including awareness and training, wellbeing strategies and individual support. Aquarius Life is part of Aquarius, a specialist charity which supports people with psychological health issues and those facing psychological and emotional harm caused by alcohol, drugs and gambling misuse. Find out more at: aquariuslife. org.uk
New master classes for curious young minds inspired by the Rubik’s Cube Tomorrow’s Achievers, part of the UK’s oldest children’s charity Coram, has launched a series of new masterclasses for exceptionally able children to learn how to solve problems, based on the world’s bestselling puzzle, the Rubik’s Cube. The master classes, run in partnership with Rubik’s, are designed for two different age groups, and take place across the UK from June. ‘How to Solve Any Problem’ for year groups 3, 4 and 5, will enable children to explore the science of problem solving and learn how to tackle the Rubik’s Cube and other tricky problems. ‘The Clever Thing Is To Enjoy The Mistakes’, for year groups 5, 6 and 7, will help children learn how to create success from things that go wrong, by getting to grips with the Rubik’s Cube and other challenging puzzles.
Tomorrow’s Achievers is the leading provider of specialist masterclasses for exceptionally able children aged 5-13 years, with classes covering science, technology, maths, philosophy and the arts and run by specially selected tutors. In April 2017, Tomorrow’s Achievers became part of Coram, and the masterclasses sit within the charity’s education and wellbeing programmes reaching greater numbers of high-achieving children and giving them the support they need to fulfil their potential.
Harriet Gill, Managing Director of Coram’s education programmes said: “The Rubik’s Cube has captivated and challenged people for decades. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Rubik’s to introduce exciting new classes based on this iconic puzzle to stimulate and inspire young minds.” Lynette Norris, Marketing Manager at John Adams Leisure, the UK distributor
of Rubik’s puzzles, added: “The Rubik’s Cube offers many ways to bring the school curriculum to life - problem solving, maths, science and more – and so we’re thrilled to be able to work with such an established partner as Tomorrow’s Achievers and to have played a part in creating such exciting and informative workshops for children to enjoy out of the usual school environment. We look forward to seeing this partnership grow over the coming months.” The masterclasses are taking place in: London (23rd and 30th June), West Bromwich (7th July) and Altrincham (8 July) and cost £45 per place. Parents and teachers can book spaces at tomorrowsachievers.co.uk, by email: email@example.com or phone: 020 3865 7170. Parents who receive Income Support and whose children receive free school meals are eligible to apply for a grant to help with the costs of the master class. Find out more at tomorrowsachievers.co.uk.
Innovative tech changing the face of mental health Michael Brennan, Founder and CEO of awardwinning antibullying app tootoot, talks to Education Magazine about the rise of tech and how it is helping to combat mental health issues and bullying. In today’s society where children as young as three are being treated for anxiety, it is more important than ever that we help our young people combat the negative effects of societal pressures. From social media to exam stress, students are vulnerable to a range of concerns old and new, and in response tech companies such as tootoot are rising to the challenge. Protecting students’ mental health is not only important for their wellbeing, but is also integral for their educational success. As we all know, wellbeing and attainment go hand in hand, so failing to protect mental health also increases the likelihood that your student will not be able to achieve their fullest potential. This can often continue in a vicious circle wherein children feel unable to break the cycle. Having been the victim of bullying and cyberbullying myself at school, I know first-hand just how distracting and detrimental to a child’s education this can be. I also know how intimidating it can feel to come forward and share what you are going through via traditional welfare channels, such as tutors and school councillors. The statistics are shocking. At least half of suicides amongst young people relate to bullying, and studies show that half of the people who were bullied in the last year have never told anyone, whether that be due to fear, embarrassment or lack of faith in existing support systems. Bullying and cyber-bullying are two big causes of mental health issues, so tackling these problems in schools where the bad behaviour often takes place is vital. Given the varied nature of mental health issues, it is unrealistic to expect schools to always be able to recognise the signs. For example, data recently released by tootoot demonstrated that students are almost twice as likely as teachers are to identify and report mental health issues. The data also showed that verbal bullying has seen a significant 45 per cent growth in pupils’ cases from 2016, compared to cyber
bullying, which showed only a 3 per cent growth. Clearly, despite regular reports of children increasingly spending greater time online, traditional forms of bullying are still dominant. Schools must continue to deal with these issues, calling on the wide range of resources available to them to make sure no serious concerns are missed. Luckily, innovative tech is increasingly rising to the challenge of tackling these prevalent student issues. Technology is paving the way for an overhaul of how we deal with and respond to challenges such as mental health issues. For schools, this means that they no longer have to rely on traditional forms of safeguarding support, which often burdens time-poor teachers. Tootoot, for example, gives students a mechanism to report and discuss issues that are concerning them in an anonymous and confidential manner. From discreetly confiding in a member of staff that they are being bullied, to opening up about long-standing mental health issues, students no longer have to suffer in silence. An example of how effective this is can be seen at a Manchester based Primary School who received a message on our reporting app from a Year 6 pupil. The student was seeking support as she had been having suicidal thoughts. Receiving this message helped the school react quickly, and they were able to put daily meetings in place to discuss her progress. They also were able to bring in the pupil’s parents and arrange play therapy for her, implementing a well-rounded strategy to protect her emotional wellbeing. The pupil’s mental health has since shown a massive improvement, and her mother in particular commented on how thankful she was that the school had embedded tech into their safeguarding strategy. It gave her daughter the confidence to speak out about how she was feeling. From our experience, technology is such a huge part of our children’s lives today that many feel more comfortable sharing their intimate fears or concerns over an online, anonymous format in the first instance than they do confiding in an adult face-to-face. Giving children the option to raise their
concerns discreetly and confidentially while they build up the confidence to talk someone in person is an important step towards ensuring all young people are effectively taken care of. As technology continues to develop and grow, it has undeniably brought with it some new challenges. However, tech also gives us enormous capabilities and is playing a significant role in tackling some of our society’s biggest problems. Harnessing innovative tech in schools gives education practitioners the power and resource to combat issues such as bullying, cyberbullying, and mental health concerns. I would encourage all schools to implement tech into their safeguarding strategy to give their wellbeing and attainment a boost. Michael Brennan is the founder of tootoot. – In his own words.. “I was bullied as a young boy and as a result, I was forced to move schools. At my new school – Berwick Academy – things were much better, and I wanted to help other students who were being bullied. To begin with, I created the first-ever peer mentoring scheme back in 2008, which won me a National Rotarian Award for Services to AntiBullying.” “Despite the peer mentoring scheme being a great success across the UK, the main recurring problem I kept seeing was that there was no easy way for students to report their concerns safely and directly to their place of learning in a discrete manner without the fear of the bullies finding out.”
“To tackle this issue head-on, alongside teachers and other leading governing bodies, I spent the last two years developing tootoot with the goal of providing students with a safe, anonymous environment to report and resolve their concerns discretely.” “We’ve already made such a big impact in such a short space of time, and we’re continuing to grow rapidly. I really think tootoot can make a visible and measurable impact at your educational institution, just as it’s done at hundreds already across the world.”
Thistley Hough Academy Principal Holly Hartley with students Rhianna Molyneux and Ellie Wass at Newcastle Lane, one of the roads being targeted in the Academy’s road safety campaign.
Hard-hitting safety campaign aims to cut student accidents Thistley Hough Academy has launched a community-wide safety campaign #cutout due to the high number of its students involved in road accidents.
He said: “I was on my way home from a friend’s house and couldn’t see over the cars and didn’t spot the car coming when I stepped out and it hit me. “It sent me up in the air and down the road a bit, and all I remember were some people helping me up off the road and being sat against a wall while the ambulance arrived. “I was taken to hospital and given anaesthetic for any pain and when my mum arrived she was stressed out. I couldn’t believe what had happened, then when the shock wore off I realised I’d been lucky. “I had to have a cast on my leg and learn to use crutches and it was hard for a while as the cast is heavy and it made my leg hurt quite a bit.
During the last six months the Penkhull academy has experienced a very high number of road traffic accidents outside the school grounds when students are travelling to or from school which has led the leadership team to take urgent action. While speed calming measures for Newcastle Lane are already under discussion with the local authority, the high frequency of incidents sparked the launch of the #cutout campaign on Thursday (May 10), where members of the Penkhull community, the Lord Mayor and community partners were asked to sign a pledge of support to ensure the future safety of every Thistley Hough student. Among those Thistley Hough students injured in a road accident was 14-year-old Year 9 student Jack Goodall, from Stoke, whose injuries included two broken bones in his right leg which left him on crutches for more than two months.
“It’s healed fine now, but the accident left me quite stressed for a while about crossing roads and now I’m constantly checking up and down the road before I step out.” Thistley Hough Academy Principal Holly Hartley, has first-hand experience of dealing with the consequences of a road accident, after she lost a school friend aged 14 to a fatal road traffic accident. She said: “That’s one of the reasons this problem resonates with me as a principal, a mum and a human being. I was 14 when I lost my dear friend and it doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that I left her at the bus stop and said goodbye then the next day she was hit by a car and died instantly. “The driver was speeding and she was listening to music. She looked one way and the other then crossed, and because they were speeding they didn’t see her and it was a devastating experience for her family and her friends and I’d never wish that experience on anyone.
“Now road safety has become a serious concern at Thistley Hough Academy, as we have grown, which has led to an increase in the number of parents dropping off and picking up our students, together with the growth in traffic using Newcastle Lane.” “This has come to a head in the last six months following a spate of student accidents, almost one a month, outside our school. “Fortunately, none of these accidents resulted in lasting serious injuries, but as our student numbers grow we feel it was only a matter of time before a student suffers critical injuries or a fatal accident. “As an Academy we have worked hard to raise awareness internally about road safety, including letters to parents warning them not to park in illegal areas outside the school, we’ve held police parking enforcement days, student safety assemblies and provided arm bands to students so they can be clearly seen, but ultimately their future safety depends on the support our local community. “I want to make a heartfelt plea as a principal and a parent to all Penkhull residents, businesses and drivers who use the roads surrounding Thistley Hough Academy to please, please, slow down and take care past our school. “Ultimately it is better to be five minutes late for work than to be responsible for destroying a young person’s life.” For more information about Thistley Hough Academy visit thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk or call 01782 883500
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Boarding school test run helps parents make right choice for their child
this year”, Marina said. “Here at Heathfield we are very passionate about inspiring today’s girls and tomorrow’s young women to try things and believe they can do anything and everything. Attendees will get the chance to mix with girls from around Britain and the world, learn to live with and understand the ways and views of others, learn independence, build their confidence, self esteem and most importantly try new things.” The school’s programmes include a range of creative and engaging activities including art, craft, photography and cookery as well as field, water and racquet sports in a location
Heathfield School, Ascot, offers the only UK ‘all girls’ Summer School and Camp to give girls a taste of boarding life 69,979 young people attend boarding school in the UK according to the Independent Schools Council’s (ISC) annual survey on its 1,326 UK member schools1 – but will it offer the stable, caring and safe environment you want for your child? Is academic rigour complemented by a broad range of arts and humanities options - music, drama, sport – as well an exciting selection of extracurricular activities?
Marina Gardiner Legge, headmistress at Heathfield School, the Ascot-based independent secondary boarding and day school for girls aged 11-18, shares the concerns of parents who want to make the right decision for their child which is why each year her school – rated Excellent by the Independent Schools Inspectorate –runs an annual summer camp programme. The UK’s only ‘all girls’ programme, its Summer School and Camp offers girls the opportunity to experience boarding school and living away from home within Heathfield’s safe and beautiful tree-lined grounds and to enjoy its excellent modern facilities. “Inspirational women is one of our themes
the girls love and where great friendships flourish. Attendees also participate in wholeschool events such as quizzes, treasure hunts, discos, a film night and Scottish and English country dancing. Shows and exhibitions are also put on by the girls, giving parents who live nearby the chance to see what their daughter is doing and participate in her summer fun. Activities for Summer Campers age 7 to 15 vary from week to week and courses range from 2 to 4 weeks in duration. Heathfield’s small and established programmes, which it has run for over 20 years, are hosted by a team of qualified teachers, specialist coaches and enthusiastic young activities staff that get to know the girls and their families and provide a personal service. The staff to student ratio is 1:6 and a school nurse and housemothers are on duty 24/7 to provide first class pastoral care and ensure their welfare, safety and security. Helpers – former Summer Campers – form part of the team and help welcome girls and look after them throughout their stay. Commenting on the camp, Helen Madaras, Director of Summer Courses, said, “Heathfield set up its own international Summer School in 1976. In the early 90s it was decided to add a Day Camp so that local girls could make use of the facilities and the expertise of all our activities staff. A few years later a girl from Ascot called Gemma - yes, I really do remember her name! - said she would love to try being a boarder as she would never get the chance in her day school and so we added boarding for British girls and named it Summer Camp”
Sam cooks up a storm to compete in national competition A pupil from King Edward’s Witley turned up the heat in the kitchen this weekend when he competed in the national Rotary Club Young Chef District finals. Year 9 pupil Sam Warne, originally born in Gloucestershire and now a boarder at King Edward’s, beat off stiff competition from his fellow Year 9 colleagues to be selected to represent the School and compete against 11 other local school winners. The District finals took place at King Edward’s Witley and required the junior chefs to create three healthy courses for under £15. The only boy competing on the day, Sam showed off his culinary skills with a classy menu comprising Rosemary flatbread with avocado smash, roasted vine tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto; Homemade fettuccine with passata, baby capers, lemon, olives and parmesan shavings finished off with Elderflower steeped fruits with dark chocolate drizzle and honey roasted granola. Cooking in front of an audience of five judges, Sam had just two hours to complete his mouth-watering masterpiece, and finished in third place. Commenting on his achievement, Sam said, “I really enjoyed taking part in the challenge and it has been an honour to represent the School in such a prestigious competition. I’m pleased with how the dishes turned out on the day and relieved that I managed to complete all three courses in the allocated time. I plan to continue with my cooking – so watch this space!”
National and Regional Rugby Fives Success for BMS Students Bedford Modern School students have been enjoying success in both national and regional Rugby Fives tournaments recently with wins in both singles and doubles. On 22 April, Year 11 student Katie Sumner became the U16 Rugby Fives national singles champion after competing at the ninth National Schoolgirls’ Championship at Marlborough College and together with Maddie Kent took silver in the U16 doubles competition. Katie and Maddie, who have been playing together for about three years, comfortably won all of their matches in the lead up to the final for the U16 doubles title. In a nail-biting match, which could have gone either way, they narrowly missed out on victory, with a final score of 15-12.
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News Both girls competed for the U16 singles title. Katie played outstandingly well, winning all her qualifying games throughout the day without conceding a single point. She was crowned the new U16 national champion after winning the final match 15-3. Maddie also did herself proud, making it to the semifinals and taking home third place. At a regional level Year 13 students Joe Sumner and Ollie Colbert swept the board on home ground in both the U18 doubles and singles tournaments at the Midlands Schools Regional Championships on Sunday 29 April. The pair took home first place in the U18 doubles tournament, competing against fellow BMS students George Larrington and Nishant Pradhan, who claimed second place. In the U18 singles tournament final, Joe scooped first place with Ollie coming second. Rob Kay, BMS Fives Master, said: “I am very proud of all these students and delighted that their hard work has paid off on the courts. They have been fantastic role models and have really helped students in younger year groups to improve their game as well.” The sport is played in many schools, universities and clubs across the country. It is a game similar to squash but played with gloved hands rather than a racquet. Bedford Modern School is an independent day school for girls and boys aged from 7 to 18
Twinkl set to host Teacher Wellbeing Month Teacher wellbeing will be at the forefront of a special series of events hosted by leading educational publisher Twinkl throughout June. A recent poll conducted by Education Support Partnership, part of a YouGov TeacherTrack survey of teachers across the UK, found that one in four respondents plan to leave the teaching profession in the next two years, citing heavy workload as the reason. In response to these findings, Twinkl Educational Publishing, based in Sheffield, will be hosting their inaugral Teacher Wellbeing Month, offering a variety of events, webinars and advice to support the health and wellbeing of teaching staff. Jonathan Seaton, CEO at Twinkl, said: “The teaching community is the inspiration behind everything we do at Twinkl which is why we really want to focus on promoting the importance of teachers’ welfare throughout Teacher Wellbeing Month.” The focus of week one is workload and will look at how Twinkl resources can help
reduce the amount of time teachers spend creating resources for the classroom. Mental health will be at the core of week two and will include a webinar with The Worrinots, a child-centric app designed to help children cope with worries and anxieties and a daily mental health tip shared via Facebook. Week three will look at teacher work / life balance, while week four is a focus on Twinkl Life looking at how resources provided by the publisher are used in the classroom. Throughout the month, Twinkl will also be showcasing a daily live yoga stream on their Facebook page to help teachers start their day feeling relaxed. Jon continued: “Teachers have a great deal of pressure placed on them, from a variety of different factors like heavy workloads and meeting targets. We want to show them that their health and wellbeing is important and just taking five minutes a day to focus on that can make such a difference. “We’re pleased to have teamed up with great organisations like The Worrinots and Education Support Partnership, who are able to provide the Twinkl teaching community with much needed hints and tips on improving their workplace wellbeing.” With customers in more than 168 countries, including Christmas Islands, Twinkl has a focus on primary and pre-primary education, but is expanding rapidly into secondary materials. In a poll* conducted by the educational resource provider, 97 per cent agreed that Twinkl has helped to improve their work / life balance. Twinkl has recently been named as a recipient of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, one of the UK’s highest accolades for business success. For more information, visit www.twinkl. co.uk.
How are schools bridging the funding gap? With significant changes on the cards for academies in both funding and costs, specialist accountancy firm MLG Education Services has been holding workshops for academies this week to help them avoid a future funding shortfall. Funding for schools is set to change with the introduction of the National Fair Funding over the next two years, while teachers’ pay, pensions and other costs are set to rise. With three-year budget forecasts due to be sent to the ESFA by academies by the end of
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July, schools need to address the potential shortfall as a matter of urgency as managing director of MLG Education, Mike Giddings explains. “In order for frontline education services to thrive, these schools need to face up to the realities of potential funding constraints and not make any assumptions, especially when it comes to the scale of local authority contributions. “They need to look for economies either by restructuring, looking to share resources, or combining purchasing power, and they need to take a realistic view of where costs are going to rise and account for this fully in their plans.” The free workshops in Dudley and Coventry in the Midlands are part of a dedicated campaign being run by MLG Education Services to sharpen up the running of academies and advise schools on the pros and cons of becoming an academy or joining multi-academy trusts (MATs). “There is enormous potential for schools especially in MATs to run more efficiently by pooling expertise and resources and using their combined power to procure services in a more cost-effective way. Minimising operational waste and improving forecasting and financial planning ensures that resources are fully focused on achieving the best possible outcome for pupils,” explains Mike Giddings. “While many of the headlines around academies have recently centred on salaries, the picture is far more complex and much more positive than the headlines suggest. “Strong leadership is key to unlocking the true potential of schools that become academies and we are hoping to see more clarity around performance standards for this critical role when the Government publishes its next set of financial guidelines for academies in the summer. When properly run, academy schools and MATs are an effective way to create efficiencies that help to optimise budgets without compromising teaching capabilities and results,” he concludes.
Story telling snacks A recent study1, published in the leading journal Appetite, has helped highlight how brands and retailers can play an important role in encouraging our children to eat more fruit and veg through the use of story-telling. Googly Fruit Organic are hoping the research will inspire other brands to follow their lead and help make fruit and veg fun and engaging for children… The researchers behind the study discovered that children ate more carrots (when given a choice of foods to pick from) after having been read a story about rabbits and carrots, continues overleaf u
NEWS News News News NEWS News NEWS News and that they ate even more when the story was supported with the use of props. Googly Fruit Organic, a fruit and veg toddler snack brand, has been at the forefront of helping drive the notion that brands could help children eat more fruit and veg through the use of story-telling and other engaging media, and hope the study will encourage other brands and retailers to follow suit.
outdoor reared meats. Perhaps it’s time to cater for much younger consumers in a similar way?” - Patrick Limpus, Googly Fruit
1. Appetite. 2017 Sep 1;116:75-81. Promoting
toddlers’ vegetable consumption through interactive reading and puppetry. de Droog SM1, van Nee R2, Govers M2, Buijzen M2.
Ofsted launches pointin-time surveys Surveys for residential special schools and further education colleges with residential provision are now open for children, learners, parents and residential staff. Ofsted, on Monday 14 May, issued its annual point-in-time online surveys for residential special schools and further education colleges with residential provision. The surveys are for children and learners, their parents and residential staff. Ofsted inspectors want to hear what they have to say about the school or college. Their responses will help inform future inspections.
“It won’t come as a surprise to parents to hear that storytelling can encourage children to eat certain foods, but it’s great to have this notion supported by solid research in a respected journal. When we launched Googly Fruit Organic this was essentially the basis on which the brand was built, and we created a host of cheeky fruit and veg characters through which to talk to kids. We use them on our packaging, in our ABC books, our activity books, and with our funny Googly eyes which kids love to stick on fruit and veg to bring them to life. Together this media helps children think of fruit and veg as fun and they become part of play time rather than the centre of parent/ children battles over what they should be eating. By starting this fun conversation with kids at an early age we hope we can have a positive impact on their longer term eating habits.
Schools and colleges should provide a link to the surveys to everyone on Ofsted’s behalf. Alternatively, anyone who wants to give their views can contact us on 0300 123 1231 (select option 5 and then option 2) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a provider, have a look at our guidance about social care surveys, including a promotional poster. Ofsted will run surveys for children’s homes, adoption and fostering services and residential family centres from 9 July until 17 August 2018 and for boarding schools from 1 October until 9 November 2018.
Julius Weinberg as next Chair of Ofsted Secretary of State for Education Justine
Our ethos is all about helping kids make a lifelong friendship with fruit and veg and we’ve really enjoyed starting this conversation with the children themselves. It’s a lot of fun and easily more so than talking nutrition with parents and means we’re engaging with our end consumers rather than their parents. This research indicates we might be onto sometime commercially viable too and it feels like an underdeveloped strategy across the market. It’s not just individual brands that I believe could benefit from this kind of approach. There’s room for retailers to follow suit, perhaps using story boards within stores to help build a fun theme around fruit and veg. Most retailers tell stories around where many of their ‘adult’ foods come from, such as free-range or
Professor Weinberg has had a wide-ranging career in the education sector. Professor Weinberg has served as a board member of:
The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA)
London Higher, the umbrella organisation for higher education (HE) institutions in London
He replaces interim Chair James Kempton and he will step down as Deputy Chair of Ofqual when he takes up his new role at Ofsted. Education Secretary Justine Greening said: Julius brings a wide range of experience from organisations in the education sector, and I’m pleased to welcome him to the role as the next Chair of Ofsted. I am confident he and Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman will form a strong partnership. Professor Julius Weinberg said: I am honoured to be asked to take on the role of Chair of Ofsted and look forward to working with Ofsted in its important work of raising standards and improving the lives of children and young people.
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01234 348878 Greening announced on 11 April 2017 the appointment of Professor Julius Weinberg as next Chair of Ofsted. As former Vice Chancellor of Kingston University and Deputy Chair of Ofqual,
or visit the website www.educationmagazine.co.uk Education Magazine