Shaking-up play for pre-school kids see page 12
Wood â€“ old fuel, new energy UV protection in schools Touch Technology Are you sitting comfortably? Conected school, safe students
The Academies Show 2012 see page 10 www.education-magazine.co.uk - for thousands of products, services and links
School fundraising There are lots of things you can do at school to raise money for our work. Here are a few of our ideas: Non-uniform day Arrange a non-uniform day with a twist – where pupils can wear what they like but teachers have to wear school uniform! Does your school already hold a charity day or non-uniform day? It could provide the perfect platform for you to hold an activity or challenge to gain extra funds. Guessing games
‘Guess how many sweets in the jar’ or ‘Guess the teddy’s weight’ always get a great response.
Why not organise a sports tournament at your school? Everyone who takes part pays a fee. You can play any sport that you like – football, rounder, netball, tennis, the choice is yours.
Get sponsored Why not see if one of your teachers (or even the Head!) would be a good sport and do something funny to help your fundraising efforts? Maybe they’d shave their beard or wear a silly outfit for the day if pupils sponsor enough money to see it happen!
Party time! Everyone loves a party so why not hold a disco at your school and charge an entry fee? You and your friends could make the decorations and also the food.
A better childhood. For every child. www.childrenssociety.org.uk/
PIR Education Magazine June Edition Annual Subscription £10 Where sold cover price of £1 Editorial Team Tracy Johnson, Derek Cooper, Design/Production Amanda Wesley Published by Review Magazines, Clifton House, 4a Goldington Road, Bedford MK40 3NF. Tel: 01234 348878 Fax: 01223 790191 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.pirnet.co.uk Copyright Education Magazine 2012
Contents 2 News 10 The Academies Show 12 Shaking-up play for pre-school kids 16 Touch Technology 18 Wood – old fuel, new energy
The Publisher holds all copyright and any items within may not be reproduced in any way, for any purpose, without the written permission of the Publisher. While every care has been taken to ensure accuracy, the information contained within this publication is based on submissions to the Publishers who cannot be held responsible for errors and omissions. The publisher does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by contributors and cannot except responsibility for claims made by manufacturers and authors, nor do they accept any responsibility for any errors in the subject matter of this publication.
20 Conected school, safe students 22 Are you sitting comfortably? 24 UV protection in schools 26 More News 28 Product showcase
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01234 348878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org We are always looking for good news on Education issues. We approve all articles prior to press.
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Stubbin Wood school pupils set to reap the benefits as they look ahead to moving into their purpose-built home The head teacher of a Nottinghamshire special school which is set to move into one of the last projects funded by the scrapped Building Schools for the Future scheme has described his pupils as “the lucky few”. Lee Floyd, whose Stubbin Wood School will share the £27m building with the nearby Shirebrook Academy, says the move will bring a host of benefits to the school’s 133 pupils, who are aged from two to 16. The pupils have moderate, severe or profound learning difficulties or an autistic spectrum disorder and are currently taught in Stubbin Wood’s small, crumbling site in Burlington
From left, Stubbin Wood School pupil Mitchell Ellis (13), Shirebrook Academy’s Chantal Gascoigne (14), Stubbin Wood’s Adrian Collins (14) and 13-year-old McKinley Burdett, from Shirebrook Academy, start the one year count-down until their new school building opens for business. They will also have access to Shirebrook Academy’s side of the building, which boasts new science labs, a cinema, a sports hall and an external all-weather pitch. The move will also allow Stubbin Wood to take in pupils until the age of 19, although its nursery unit, which teaches children aged from two to four alongside mainstream peers, will continue to operate in its present building.
An artist’s impression of how Stubbin Wood’s new school building will look. Avenue, Langwith, near Mansfield. In exactly one year’s time they will move into the new building, which is being built at Shirebrook’s Academy’s site in Common Lane, where they will be able to access a host of cutting-edge facilities, including two sensory rooms, a soft play room and a hydrotherapy pool.
The new Academy building was one of the last projects to have been given the goahead before the Coalition Government scrapped the £55bn BSF programme in 2010 and is one of a small number of sites in the UK where a special school is co-located with a mainstream school. This reflects education experts’ belief, backed by a growing body of evidence, which states that special school pupils benefit significantly from learning alongside mainstream pupils on a shared site, rather than in isolation in their own premises.
Mr Floyd said the move will give his pupils the best of both worlds, in that they will have specialist provision and teaching, combined with the opportunity to mix with mainstream students and be taught by the Academy’s subject-specific staff. But he said that such opportunities should be mandatory for all special school pupils, thousands of whom, following the scrapping of the BSF, will be doomed to carry on doing their learning outside the mainstream school system in buildings many of which are not fit for their 21st Century purpose. He said: “We have one year to go before we move into our new school and everyone is extremely excited about the prospect, but at the same time we are extremely conscious that our pupils are the lucky few. “Current buildings try, but often fail, to provide for more severe and complex needs among these surviving children.”
Care for a daffodil and help Marie Curie care for people at the end of life Marie Curie Cancer Care is inviting all children aged 3-11 to take part in its Mini Pots of Care fundraising activity this autumn and help raise money for Marie Curie Nurses. Mini Pots of Care is a free creative and educational project for schools and groups which teaches children about science, nature and the work of Marie Curie Nurses, who provide free care to people with a terminal illness in their own homes. As part of the activity children plant daffodil bulbs in their own mini pots in the autumn and care for them throughout the winter months. In the spring, children celebrate their daffodils in bloom by holding a Mini Pots of Care Day when they have fun painting their pots, fundraising and learning about the work of the Marie Curie Cancer Care. Register your school or group to take part by calling 08700 340 040 or visiting www.mariecurie.org. uk/minipotsofcare by October 5, 2012.
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Secure storage for schools – Trimetals has the solution Trimetals are the leading manufacturer of external metal storage solutions for the education sector, currently supplying over 4,000 schools in the UK. When space is at a premium, Trimetals’ range of robust outdoor storage units creates useful additional storage that’s ideal for keeping sports, play or gardening equipment securely tidied away yet close at hand. With a wide variety of low-profile units available, as well as premium garden sheds, there’s a Trimetals storage solution for every educational facility. The storage units are also useful where several groups use a shared area or community building, ensuring each group’s equipment is securely stored away and won’t get in the way of other users. Trimetals has over 45 years’ experience of precision manufacturing high quality secure storage units. All designs are made from tough PVC-coated galvanised steel, and come with a 25 year panel guarantee. Strong, safe and rust-proof, the units offer handy, secure and weatherproof storage wherever it’s required.
The low profile designs are easy to use, with a smooth, spring-assisted opening action and complete ‘walk in’ access. Unlike wooden or plastic alternatives, Trimetals stores are maintenance-free, fire-resistant and do not warp, crack or discolour over time.
Trimetals’ storage solutions are available from all major approved school equipment suppliers. For a list of stockists, or for more information on Trimetals’ full range of superior quality outdoor storage solutions call 01258 459441, or email sales@trimetals. co.uk. Website: www.trimetals.co.uk
No more compromises with the new Electrolux Professional compact washing and drying solutions Electrolux Professional introduces its new laundry solutions, the W555H washer extractor and the T5130 tumble dryer. These are the first compact professional laundry solutions made for 30,000 cycles, creating excellent performance combining the latest technology with green thinking and cost reducing features. Reply No.
The entirely new W555H washer extractor and T5130 tumble dryer can endure more than twice the number of cycles than the market standard. Whilst the majority of products on the market last 2,000 to 15,000 cycles, the W555H and T5130, can endure up to 30,000 cycles, thanks to its extra robust construction.
In the care sector, it is necessary to have a fast and reliable laundry solution delivering safe and hygienically clean linen time and time again. However, justifying the installation of a large industrial washer within a limited size care home can be difficult. Therefore the new Electrolux W555H and T5130 are especially designed to cope with small but heavily soiled loads requiring thermal disinfection and short process times. Equipped with special features and programs tailored to the needs of the care industry, these new solutions use less energy and remove solids efficiently. Additionally they ensure optimum hygiene and reduced process time as well as ease of use. For more information email email@example.com or visit www.electrolux.co.uk/laundrysystems
NEWS News News News NEWS News NEWS News Around 200 local and national employers back 15 new University Technical Colleges Jaguar Land Rover, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic get on board Fifteen brand new University Technical Colleges (UTCs) have been approved to open in 2013 and 2014. They will have involvement from around 200 high-profile employers – including household names like Jaguar Land Rover, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. They will also have significant input from world-class universities, such as Cambridge and Warwick. They range from a UTC specialising in aviation engineering, located close to London Heathrow Airport, to one in Warwick that will focus on delivering a businesslike education – with input from over 30 employers – in engineering with digital technology. One project will also be based at the new MediaCityUK in Salford – home to much of the BBC and other media outlets. UTCs will create opportunities for more than 20,000 young people to train as the engineers and scientists of the future – playing a crucial role in the UK’s long-term economic growth. They will offer hands-on technical learning alongside academic GCSEs and A levels. The projects approved today join 17 UTCs that are already working to open this September or next. The number of UTCs in
the pipeline now exceeds the Government’s ambition to create 24 by 2014.
will specialise in engineering with digital technology.
Schools Minister Lord Hill said: I am very pleased to be announcing another wave of strong UTC proposals. Right around the country there is a lot of enthusiasm from employers, universities, pupils and parents for high quality rigorous technical education. They provide more choice for children as well as helping provide the kind of highly skilled technicians our economy needs. The response from employers to UTCs speaks for itself.
• Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC will specialise in aviation engineering. Its sponsors include Brunel University, BAA, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and RAF Northolt. It will offer 600 students the opportunity to acquire the skills for an industry which contributes around £17billion to the UK economy in economic output.
UTCs are Academies for 14–19-year-olds. Pupils choose to go to them at ages 14 or 16. They focus on providing technical education that meets the needs of modern business. Each has one or two specialisms – ranging from engineering, to manufacturing, to construction or bio-medical sciences. Students spend around 60 per cent of their time on core academic subjects, and the rest of their time learning specific technical skills and qualifications. All UTCs are sponsored by a local university and employers. The involvement of universities and employers means that students benefit from work placements, guest speakers, and a curriculum designed by experts in the field. Many also run longer term times and operate business hours to help prepare students for the world of work. The combination of a strong technical and academic education ensures that students are ready for work or further study at college or university. The projects approved today include: • Warwick UTC has involvement from the University of Warwick and Jaguar Land Rover, amongst other local stakeholders. It will offer a business-like education to 640 pupils – working to business hours – and
• UTC Cambridge is sponsored by Cambridge Regional College, Cambridge University Health Partners and a range of employers which are leaders in biomedical and environmental science and technologies. The UTC will specialise in these areas. It will cater for 670 students. • The MediaCityUK UTC will be based in the heart of the country’s first media city on Salford Quays. It will cater for 720 pupils, who will specialise in skills linked to the creative and digital industries. It will help ensure that employers at MediaCityUK and their supply chains have access to the enterprising, skilled talent pool they need to flourish. It is also important for the local area, as some neighbourhoods immediately surrounding MediaCityUK are within the top one per cent most deprived in England. • Elstree UTC will be based in Hertfordshire and will offer a technical education to 600 students. It will offer two specialisms: entertainment technologies and crafts, and electronic engineering and digital technologies. Elstree students will also have a longer school day than students at a traditional secondary school. Its proposed location in Elstree means it will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of high-profile entertainment and creative industries in Hertfordshire and London.
Dagenham school wins Education Establishment of the Year at the prestigious Education Resources Awards All Saints Catholic School and Technology College, Dagenham, was awarded the title of Education Establishment of the Year at the prestigious Education Resource Awards (ERAs). Winners of the 14th annual ERAs were announced on Friday 16 March, at a gala event held at The National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham. All winners were selected by a large independent panel of experienced educational professionals. To be considered for the Education Establishment of the Year category entrants needed to show how the establishment was providing a real asset to the community it serves. At All Saints, the students are taught to respect and value their peers and their neighbours but more importantly, they are taught to believe in and value their own abilities. Over the past few years, school culture has changed dramatically and the school has successfully adapted to meet these changes, whilst ensuring that the
school remains an oasis where ‘the streets’ are kept firmly outside. Ray Barker of BESA commented: “Unanimously, the judges were impressed that despite many socio-economic and demographic challenges, All Saints provides an environment where students are encouraged to set high personal goals and supported every step of the way towards achieving their aspirations. All Saints has high educational standards, a strong Catholic ethos and a moral code which permeates throughout the school, and it is obvious that the students are happy, motivated and thriving in the environment and structure provided by the dedicated and enthusiastic staff.” Headteacher, Kevin Wilson, expressed his delight at winning: “This award is a real accolade for the whole school community. We are very proud of our students and their achievements, particularly when 4
educational standards are being questioned at all political levels. Schools in Barking and Dagenham are showing considerable improvement year on year and we are proud to be part of that success. I am indebted to an industrious and committed staff, very supportive parents and a dedicated Board of Governors whose collaborative efforts have made this award possible.” The Awards are organised by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) and Brilliant Marketing Solutions Ltd, and celebrate the innovative approach to learning and teaching by teachers, institutions and organisations from all levels of education. The ERAs are sponsored by Berol, Findel Education, Hope Education and Staedtler UK and supported by the National Association of Head Teachers, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and UK Trade & Investment. The media partner is the Education Guardian. PIR Education
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St Albans school begins countdown to opening of new £6.6 million sports facility The Headmaster of St Albans School, Andrew Grant, has been formally handed the keys to the school’s major new Sports Centre – signalling the countdown to the official opening of the complex later this year. The £6.6 million building gives access to an impressive array of facilities that include a 25-metre swimming pool, a fully equipped fitness and weights suite and a sports hall with four international standard badminton courts and basketball hoops. The complex also includes a mirrored dance studio with sprung wooden floor, a climbing wall, and a series of offices and classrooms. Accepting the keys just over a year after construction began, Andrew says that he is delighted with the end result: “This development has been almost a decade in the planning,” he says, “but the
Work of business school lecturers recognised Two academics from the University of Bedfordshire’s Business School are to receive a prestigious award from the Emerald Literati Network for a journal article. Dr Usha Ramanathan and Professor Ram Ramanathan co-authored an article called Guests’ perceptions on factors influencing customer loyalty: an analysis for UK hotels. The article has been selected as one of the most impressive pieces of work that the Emerald Literati Network team has seen in 2011 It has been chosen as a Highly Commended Award Winner in the Network’s 2012 Awards for Excellence after it was published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. Dr Ramanathan said: “We are delighted to have been recognised and look forward to receiving the award at a conference in Amsterdam later this year.” The Emerald Literati Network recognises and rewards the efforts of authors and editors in a number of research fields. Awards for Excellence are presented each year. To read the article visit http:// www.emeraldinsight.com/journals. htm?articleid=1906013
finished centre has actually exceeded our expectations; completed on time and within budget, it is a building that makes use of absolutely state-of-the-art design and our students cannot wait to start using it.” The building work on the project was carried out by the SDC Construction Group, based in Bedford. It was designed by David Morgan, a former pupil of St Albans School, from local architects Cannon, Morgan & Rheinberg, who sadly died earlier this year before seeing his work completed. Landscaping work continues to take place around the building, including the planting of shrubs and trees. Once all of the work is complete, the school plans to hold an official
‘Enter the Story’ - is based on the best memory research: Players have to make all the decisions, and more involvement means better recall. The stories are constant action from start to finish, because more surprises means better recall. The stories are linked together, because connecting ideas (mnemonics) means better recall. Accurate - With Enter the story you get; the main events, characters, motivations, and conflicts. In the case of Shakespeare you get the key quotations too. Nothing is changed or added, except: The player becomes a character in the book. The human brain is designed to learn through stories. One day Enter The Story will expand to include stories from history, illustrations from economics and metaphors from science. We already have a number of stories available including; The First Men in the Moon, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet will be released this week, see ‘enterthestory.com’
opening ceremony to allow visitors to see the stunning new facility for themselves. “The new St Albans School Sports Centre marks a huge leap forward in what we can offer current and prospective students,” Andrew continues. “Reinforcing our commitment to helping our students achieve the very best, this unrivalled fitness complex offers something for every active pupil to enjoy, right here in the school grounds.” In preparation for the opening, the school is in the process of appointing a new Sports Centre Manager, and the first set of practical trials of the facilities is now underway to ensure that the building is ready for use at the start of the next academic year.
We will continue to increase to all the classic books [that are out of copyright] on the curriculum. Because we are interested in these great stories and making them more accessible to the world we are offering it free to a limited number of schools. This is a pilot project and is in its infancy, but we feel it could really offer something to children to help them take the leap into Classic books. We have already had many children look at and enjoyed the interactive, fun part of learning a Classic story through ‘Enter The Story’. If schools are studying particular books that we do not presently have and as long as they are out of copyright we can produce an ‘Enter The Story’ version in two/three weeks. The system is not designed to replace the original book, but introduce them to it in a way that will not immediately put them off. ‘Enter The Story’ can be another useful tool for teachers in the classroom and much more will really help children enter the world of the classic book. enterthestory.com/a/web/about-books-asgames.html
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Aquasplash Festival offers young people the opportunity to take part in competitive swimming. “It’s a great way to give children a taste of what an Olympic experience is all about and who knows some of them could go on to be our Olympic stars of the future.” Jon Glen, Head of Learn to Swim and Young People, added: “The Big Splash Aquasplash Festival provides an aquatic competitive experience for primary aged school children. “In the lead up to 2012 and the successful legacy years, this competition encourages young people to follow the Olympic and Paralympic values, such as working as a team, respecting others, promoting team play and being the best they can.”
Mark Foster helps launch first Big Splash Aquasplash Festival in Manchester
As well as encouraging young people to swim and be active, schools can submit their scores online and view their position in regional league tables. Who knows. Some of them could go on to be our Olympic stars of the future.
Children from five Manchester primary schools were given a once-ina-lifetime opportunity to swim with five-time Olympian Mark Foster to celebrate the launch of the Big Splash Aquasplash Festival.
The winning school at the end of this academic year will have the chance to meet their Olympic and Paralympic heroes at the Kellogg’s Swimtastic Awards, the ASA’s celebration of swimming, taking place later this year.
Mark joined 80 children in the pool at the Manchester Aquatics Centre on Tuesday 31 January to take part in the launch.
Teacher Amanda Potter from Lancasterian School for special educational needs, in Manchester, said: “It’s not every day that the children have the opportunity to swim with an Olympic swimmer in an Olympic pool.
It’s a great way to give children a taste of what an Olympic experience is all about. Developed by experts at the ASA, the Big Splash Aquasplash Festival is a national aquatic competition for primary schools consisting of eight fun activities which cover a spectrum of skills across all aquatic disciplines and lifesaving.
“It’s been a fantastic experience for everyone taking part and the children have absolutely loved taking part in the activities.” For more information visit www.swimming.org/aquasplash/page/ about-aquasplash
Foster said: “With 2012 Olympic fever on the rise, the Big Splash
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Tuition fees are not an issue for young people as desire to attend university remains high Research reveals that young people appear not to be deterred by rising University costs and are more focussed on the quality of the course and future employment opportunities Recent YouGov research has found that the desire of young people to attend university is not on the wane, as recent high profile media coverage would suggest, with 80% of 16-18 year olds still wanting to study at university. The survey of 1,055 young people, aged between 16 and 20, has found that 69% of 16 to 20 year olds want to study at university. Of those young people who were unsure or did not want to go to university at the moment, 21% said they were likely to go to university sometime in the future. Just over a quarter of young people surveyed (27%) agreed that ‘they wanted to go to university but could not afford it’. Young people still believe in the longer term financial benefits of a university education and feel that the trade-off between a higher income and higher debts is a deal worth doing. Sixty eight per cent of young people surveyed agreed that ‘I know I will leave university with debts but the benefits in getting a higher paid job make up for this’. While by the time they reach 35 years of age, over half (54%) expect to earn a lot more than people who did not go to university. The YouGov survey of young people also found that the most important factors in deciding what university to attend are: the reputation of the university for high quality teaching (79%), the appropriateness of the course (72%) and the ability to move into a well-paid job at the end of the course (67%). Only 37% of young people feel that it is important that fees should be less than the maximum of £9,000 per year. Recent UCAS figures and our survey of young people indicate that the intention to have a university education remains strong in the 16-18 year old cohort. However, while the fears around the impact of increased fees appear to be less of a concern for young people, there is widespread disapproval with the Governments policy to increase the cap on tuition fees to £9,000 - three quarters (75%) of 16-20 years olds surveyed disapproved of this policy. There is positive news for the university sector as our research suggests that young people still value a university education.
Olympic Rings 2012 created by children from Sheffield High School aged 8-14. Image supplied by Sheffield High School
Fun with 500 in Five Olympic Rings! T-shirts, camera and even action! It was a case of T-shirts, camera and even action, as over 500 pupils from Sheffield High School gathered on the school field to attempt not only a photograph of the Olympic symbol, but also to create a moving image of the five interlocking rings! Each class from Year 4 in the Junior School through to Year 9 in the Senior School had been allocated one of the colours of the Olympic Rings, representing the colours of all the flags at the Olympic Games, and they each brought along a t-shirt in that colour for the filming. The shape of the rings and the number 2012 were then formed and a still photo taken, emulating not only the shape, but also the unity which was intended by the original creation of the Olympic image by the founder of the modern Olympic movement, Pierre de Coubertin. That was the easy bit! The girls then ran in and out of the shape, amazing staff when they ran back to exactly their allocated positions. Finally they attempted a moving image of the Olympic Rings, yes – even with them interlocking! The interest from radio and television was the icing on the cake, as no-one truly believed it could be done, but with the GO4IT approach at Sheffield High School, the girls even managed to achieve the moving image of the interlocking rings! If you would like to see the one minute moving image go to: http://bit.ly/GCMzhj This attempt was planned for the School’s birthday as part of the its ongoing Olympic celebrations which are happening throughout the current school year.
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Badgemaster, the UK’s leading manufacturer of engraved, ready-towear employee name badges has launched a new product range to fulfil the needs of the re-usable name badge market. ‘InstaBadge’, as its name suggests, enables employers themselves to create instant name badges for new starters. “InstaBadge offers the good looks and performance of a permanent badge with all the flexibility of a re-usable one”, explains John Bancroft, Badgemaster’s Managing Director. “It’s ideal for Reply No. workplaces with frequent staff changes, as new employees can be 6 smartly badged from the word go.” The wearer’s name is held within the badge rather than engraved onto it, so employers can control costs by re-using the badge frames when staff leave. The design of the badge frames, together with Badgemaster’s long-established expertise in corporate personalisation, means that customers who prefer the re-usable option needn’t sacrifice either choice or visual appeal for economy. The new range includes 9 different styles, all available in any base colour and with plenty of space for company logos and corporate designs to be accurately reproduced. Its unique patent protected design combines the fastener as an integral part of the badge and so prevents the pin ever becoming detached from the badge.
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which charges at local rate for both mobiles and landlines
Teaching the values of recycling OCS has been supporting a school in Hackney and teaching the positive values of recycling, helping the school to more than double its recycling rate. Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form is part of a Hackney schools contract with Babcock, where OCS delivers cleaning, hygiene, pest control, waste management and grounds maintenance services. The contract for waste services has been held for two years and encompasses mixed recycling, ink cartridges, cardboard and confidential waste. OCS introduced recycling bins in key areas of the school including
photocopying and printing areas and art rooms, where a large quantity of mixed recycling waste is produced. The school has also nominated pupils as ‘Recycling Champions’ to help deliver messages to their peers and other building users. To support their campaign, OCS organised a fun day to teach pupils the importance of cleaning the building and recycling where possible. Since the delivery of two new recycling collection containers, known as ‘cow bins’, the school has gone from an average of 8% recycling to just under 32% in a matter of months. Ms Annie Gammon, Headmistress of Stoke Newington said: “We had started
the process of recycling before our contract with OCS began, but we weren’t recycling at a high rate. Since we have put together plans on which materials to recycle, the scheme has been thriving. The pupils really enjoy it and it’s great to see that we are making a difference to the environment.” Operations Director Eddie Ratcliffe said: “This is really encouraging progress. In partnership with the school we have set a target of 50% recycling for this year. We are also in discussion about the possibility of food recycling and look forward to making further progress in this area.”
The Academies Show 2012
Keynote speaker, Schools Commissioner for England, Dr Elizabeth Sidwell CBE, addressed a packed conference and drew from her own experience within schools as well as highlighting the gap in achievement between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their contemporaries. She expressed the view of many of the day’s speakers saying conversion the academy status was “not just about the structural change, it’s about the people, the collaboration, the freedom.” “More than fifty per cent of secondary schools are now Academies or are in the process of converting,” she said later. “Many primary schools are also following in their footsteps. “I was delighted to be speaking at The Academies Show to explain more about the benefits that Academy freedoms can bring to all schools.”
The Academies Show, which took place recently at London’s Olympia, attracted over 2700 visitors from schools considering conversion to academy status, those already converting as well as established academies. This inaugural event, sponsored by Zurich Municipal and supported by the Department for Education, the Education Funding Agency, The Schools Network, FASNA, the IAA, NAACE, the National Education Trust, NASBM and the NGA, saw experts tackle the common misconceptions about academy status, examine key considerations for converting, and highlight the improved prospects of thousands of children attending schools which took advantage of academy freedoms.
In his speech to the conference, Dominic Herrington, Director of the Academies Delivery Group at the Department for Education noted that the drive towards academies was in part a result of the advantages the added autonomy afforded schools. However, he added: “Autonomy is not an end in itself. It’s about how to drive up standards in your school.” Herrington also noted that the benefits of academy status seemed to be ongoing, if not accumulative: “The longer a school is an academy the more the beneficial effects of that academy grows,” he said. The idea that gaining academy status was far more meaningful than simply a status change was supported by David Wootton,
Academies Executive, United Learning Trust and Chair of the Independent Academies Association. “Successful academies need to be transformational,” he said. “Academies can extend opportunities for enrichment and extra curricula activities. The freedom they gain is the freedom to think innovatively – to rewrite the script.” Wootton also noted that academies had moved away from the early model where there seemed to be little interaction between the schools. More recently umbrella structures and groups of academies were proving highly effective in sharing best practice and driving up standards together. “The inaugural Academies Show was a great event and it was really good to see the huge amount of interest in the main show presentations and seminars,” said Paul Tombs, Head of Education at Zurich Municipal – the Show’s main sponsor. “It was wonderful to speak to so many headteachers, business managers, bursars, chairs and governors. We had some terrific conversations with people that were just curious about converting to an academy, right in the middle of conversion, just converted and also some long standing academies. “It was also great to dispel some myths about insurance being a barrier to school activities,” Tombs continued. “Just because some activities are more risky it certainly doesn’t mean that they should be stopped!” For more information, please visit: www.academiesshow.co.uk. The next Academies Show will take place on 28th November 2012 at the NEC Birmingham. www.academiesshowbirmingham.co.uk
Tripling number of top graduates recruited through Teach First Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced that the Government will provide further funding to accelerate the expansion of Teach First – the successful charity which recruits top graduates to work in the most challenging schools. Tens of thousands of children across England will benefit from a £32.4million Government investment in the programme next year – an increase of more than £3million. The majority of this funding goes to Teach First’s 14 university training partners. The funding will help the charity train 1,250 top graduates, from 70 different universities, next year before they go on to join schools in the most challenging circumstances – double the number who took part in the charity’s Leadership Development Programme in 2010. The Government has also announced its support of Teach First’s goal to train 1,500 participants in 2014/15 – triple the number who took part in the Leadership
Development Programme in 2010. Education Secretary Michael Gove said: The countries which give their children the best education in the world are those which value their teachers most highly and where the profession attracts the brightest graduates. Our priority is to deliver robust standards and high quality teaching to all pupils, whatever their background. To do this we must attract highly talented people into education because the quality of teachers has a greater influence on children’s achievement than any other aspect of their education. By expanding Teach First, the Government is delivering on this commitment. Teach First works in primary and secondary schools where more than half of pupils come from the poorest 30 per cent of families in the UK. This expansion will mean that Teach First would be able to reach 90 per cent of eligible
schools by 2016, boosting the Government’s commitment to recruit more top teachers across England. It will also make Teach First the largest graduate recruiter in the country. It recruits exceptional graduates – those having at least a 2.1 degree – who go through a thorough assessment process and intensive two-year training programme. The announcement comes as part of the Coalition Government’s drive to raise standards in our schools, by making it a highly attractive career for top graduates. Welcoming the additional Government support, Brett Wigdortz, CEO and Founder of Teach First, said: I’m delighted that in our 10th anniversary year the Coalition Government has confirmed this significant contribution to support the growth of Teach First.
Shaking-up play for pre-school kids It is often argued all work and no play will make for a dull child – so how do you combine the right to play with crucial child development in the early-years stage? The recent consultation on the Early Years Foundation Stage framework (EYFS), when children begin to attend nurserylevel education in preparation for school, has invited much discussion, and some criticism, from both the government and the play sector. The Department for Education’s EYFS framework has now gone through several consultations with the final draft expected in Spring 2012. The aim of the EYFS is to prepare children for mainstream education from birth, but many have argued its key aim should be to encourage early development and in particular, a mutually beneficial relationship between play and learning. The original EYFS (2008) highlighted the value of play as a method for children to learn to communicate, form friendships and care for one another. Dame Clare Tickell, who carried out an independent report on the EYFS, argued this method of encouraging children to learn through play should focus upon three key features: “playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically”. It is interesting to explore the applications of these ideas and how play can contribute to them. Firstly, innovative play equipment encourages children to approach and explore different possibilities of use and access. Three dimensional climbing frames are a good example of this as they are non-prescriptive and allow children to climb in and out from several sides, exploring the interior as they try and make their way through. Active learning is encouraged by zoned play spaces with a mixture of different equipment that lend themselves well to child-initiated games; with traditional classroom-based lessons transferred outdoors, giving children the opportunity to learn on their feet, within their environment and on a scale not possible indoors.
Also, play is important in giving children the tools, both physically and mentally, to be creative and develop essential logical thinking skills. For example, looseparts play systems allow children to build their own play spaces in the shape of a recognisable object, such as a fort or spaceship. This encourages children to think how they will build in various features, such as exits and entrances and how these can be used differently when approached from different perspectives.
staff should try to ensure children are able to go outside daily, depending upon weather conditions. However, some of these plus points were knocked down a peg as others questioned the DfE’s ability to deliver on this. Specific indoor space requirements are often provided relative to a child’s age but there is none of the same detail when it comes to outdoor play provision suggesting a lack of government follow-through on prioritising outdoor play and learning, threatening to fall short of the EYFS’s overall target.
One of the most important aspect of a learning environment is the people who enable children to learn. The input of playworkers and teaching practitioners supervising and interacting at this early stage can be crucial for how children approach learning in later life. Most children respond well to instruction, but rather than simply waiting to be taught, much of the EYFS consultation responses argued for a more flexible, two-way system whereby teachers and staff sought to achieve their lesson outcomes through: “Playful, adultdirected learning,”.
Attention was also paid to building confidence and the ability to cope with fear and taking risks from an early age. This means giving children the opportunity to: “investigate and experience things,” to not be afraid to “have a go”, for fear they might make a mistake. In play terms, this leads to children engaging more with the environment, be it their natural surroundings or the play equipment within it, and with continuing improvements in sustainable safety surfacing and the chances of injury are significantly decreased, allowing greater opportunities for children to take risks and become more responsible for their own wellbeing.
Another welcome addition has been the acknowledgement that children should have “adequate” outdoor space in which to play in schools or, if no such space is available,
It is important to consider that much of the synchronicity between the child,
The API is the lead trade body within the play sector representing the interests of manufacturers, designers and distributors of both indoor and outdoor play equipment and play area surfacing. Our website features several playground resources for schools and communities: www.api-play.org play equipment and developmental outcomes is arrived at through the contribution of play providers dedicated and experienced in the educational sector. Association of Play Industry (API) member companies have a strong history of play research, educational liaison and working closely with children in order to find out what they respond to best (a full list of companies is featured on the API website). This commitment to both fun and education means their child-centred approach and educational focus results in outdoor and indoor play environments most conducive to learning; meeting safety standards, curriculum targets and putting smiles on faces.
As the EYFS framework is designed to ease children into education, encourage their natural development and make the learning process more fun, it seems logical this more-open ended approach to outdoor education should be continued through into the older-age school system. Pre-education intervention can have a significant impact on making children “good learners”, where both work and play (and learning outdoors) become a key priority enabling them to remain playful and curious throughout their adult life. Children’s Rights: The API is a partner of the Right Year for Children campaign (RY4C) which aims to strengthen and raise awareness of children’s rights in England. To find out more, visit: www.ry4c.org.uk
Touch Technology In today’s connected knowledge economies, education is argued to be the new currency by which nations will maintain their economic competitiveness. The more we can gear our students’ learning environments to their future workplaces, the better we can equip them with the knowledge, experience and skills necessary to compete. However providing such a learning environment is a major challenge for educational establishments. Technology alone will not transform learning but modes of learning will remain static without it. Too often debate becomes polarised between traditionalists seen as ‘anti-tech’ and caricatured as insisting that pupils should sit in rows and recite historical facts versus enthusiasts who are caricatured as advocating a free for all of independent learning in which standards have little significance. Sensible educationalists recognise of course that high quality teaching taking full advantage of the affordances of education technologies can accelerate learning and bring particular advantage in exploring difficult concepts. Young people today live in an increasingly interactive world. Audio visual technologies are often seen as the “magic” ingredient to create an interactive environment that increases student engagement in learning. In certain respects this is quite true. After all today’s students are largely at ease with the world of technology. They are naturally adept with finding out how a new technology works and within a very short space of time they are up and running with it. Their default on seeing a screen is to touch it and see what it will do. Britain has been at the forefront of developing educational use of technology for over ten years. The majority of classrooms have interactive technologies such as SMART Boards which enable students to interact and manipulate content including audio and video. Software improvements in recent years have enabled several students to use the board at the same time and learn in a more collaborative way for example studying a piece of video footage from World War II, discussing, pausing and annotating it rather than by the traditional ‘rote’ method of learning the same facts which simply relied on a good memory rather than interpersonal, audio and visual cues. In a similar vein, as schools have increasingly introduced laptops and tablets, software such as SMART Sync
enables teachers to connect the students’ devices so that they can work on shared activities either in groups or in a plenary mode via the SMART Board. So what starts off looking pretty similar to it predecessor, ie large, flat and attached to the wall, actually provides an extravaganza of options for students to work collaboratively, for staff to manage assessment with instant feedback or to work with an array of contemporary content and apps. Technology constantly evolves. The advent of 3D technology has encouraged a stepchange in student engagement. The Abbey School in Reading is an early adopter, regularly using 3D technology (now so familiar at the cinema) in the classroom. The school is working with Texas Instruments on the pilot and the results so far are encouraging. Mrs Johnson, Head of Science at The Abbey, taught two parallel Year 7 classes about plant cells, one using 2D diagrams from books and one using the 3D technology. The difference between the two classes’ models was marked. The first class – having seen only a flat cut-away of a cell – created simple two-dimensional structures. The second set of students, taught using 3D, produced complete models showing the plant cell in three dimensions. These pupils successfully understood the structure of the cell and recreated a more accurate model. Mrs Johnson remarked that “Both groups of children were given identical briefings and access to the same modelling materials. The results revealed to us how little pupils understood using the traditional plant cell illustration.” The visual side of AV is probably the side that is most familiar to students and teachers alike. Whilst so many people concentrate on the “visual” side of Audio Visual technologies, they forget that there is also the audio side. Many traditional classrooms create lots of reverberation, meaning amplified sounds bounce off hard surfaces, producing lots of problematic noise. Some schools have introduced soundfield systems to improve audio quality, but if there are students in class with hearing impairments using FM hearing aids, this creates a new problem. Someone must ‘patch’ together a system that enables both FM and normal-hearing soundfield listeners to hear the teacher’s words. This often results in an FM system’s voice signal being degraded. These “challenging acoustics” leave teachers straining their voices to be heard, and pupils losing interest in the lesson because they cannot hear the teacher properly. The latest amplification system from Phonak measures the noise level in the room and automatically
Rachel Jones, Head of Education, Steljes Limited adjusts its audio parameters to ensure the teacher’s words are amplified without increasing the overall noise level, allowing students to clearly hear and understand without the system creating feedback or echo. Even better a child using a hearing aid doesn’t have to go through any special routine, but can just join in the lesson along with the rest of the class. Research indicates that installing a good amplification system not only has a significant positive impact on student performance, it also benefits the vocal health of the teacher, meaning fewer teacher sick days as a result. Statistics have shown that over 73,000 teaching days and £15M are lost every year due to voice strainrelated illnesses. That’s the equivalent of 30,000 new iPads in classrooms or 375 new teachers! Seizing the pedagogical advantages as well as improving the learning environment helps us ensure that our students get full benefit of current developments. The effective use of audio visual technologies in the classroom encourages a love of learning that our graduates of tomorrow need to nurture and take with them for the whole of their working lives. For more information about how interactive technologies can improve learning outcomes please visit www.steljes.com By Rachel Jones, Head of Education, Steljes Limited Sources *http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/isess/background.shtml http://www.scribd.com/doc/55503032/The-Effects-ofEnvironmental-and-Classroom-Noise-on-the-AcademicAttainments-of-Primary-School-Children Abbey School reference; http://www.theabbey.co.uk/ home.aspx?MicrositeID=2&LevelxID=1231 Thibodeau, L, Benefits of Adaptive FM Systems on Speech Recognition in Noise for Listeners Who Use Hearing Aids, American Journal of Audiology Vol.19 36-45 June 2010 http://aja.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/19/1/36 retrieved 05 April 2012
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Wood – old fuel, new energy
Wood is all around us – in the south west we live in the second most wooded region of England, with 8.9% or 245,000 hectares of woodland around us. Last year, nationally, our woodlands increased by over 8,000 hectares as a result of new planting. Rising oil and gas prices have seen a big increase in interest in wood fuel for heating and hot water. At around, or under, half the oil and liquid natural gas (LPG) price per kilowatt hour for heat, wood fuel, from our own sustainably managed woodland, is an attractive source of heat from a renewable energy fuel. Wood fuel is a ‘carbon lean’ fuel, and our trees, woodlands and forests act as natures’ own carbon capture and storage. In moving to wood fuel, schools have not only demonstrated commitment to climate change mitigation and CO2 reduction, they have also achieved significant cost savings in energy expenditure, and the Renewable Heat Incentive now provides additional financial support for schools to make this change.
hrough the South West Bioheat Programme, supported by the Forestry Commission and now the Intelligent Energy Europe FOREST (Fostering Long Term Supply Partnerships) programme, Regen SW has promoted and supported the Wood Fuel sector delivering renewable Energy in the South West region since 2007. Running a business support programme, and assistance to create exemplar wood fuel installations, our projects have ranged from the very large, the Davidstow-Dairycrest Boilers producing enough heat to manufacture around 50,000 tonnes of cheese per year, to commercial and rural businesses such as farms and horticultural nurseries, that not only have they reduced CO2 emissions, they have also reduced energy costs and made their businesses more cost-effective and competitive in these harsh economic times. Schools have featured heavily in our programme. With large parts of the south west region off the gas grid, and with many schools in rural locations, the attraction to move to wood fuel means a very real cost saving in energy – coupled with energy efficiency measures as a sensible pre-requisite, as the Carbon Trust put it ‘ schools can save energy costs equal to a teacher’s annual pay’. Is this too good to be true? Part of the Carbon Trust’s Bioheat Accelerator programme installed a biomass boiler into Fonthill Primary School, in the suburbs of Bristol. Part of a pioneering programme run by Bristol City Council and their Energy Management Unit, the school beats the trend in not being in a rural location, but
was running on expensive oil. The project, delivered by Vollmer Engineering Ltd, replaced 4 oil boilers with a single biomass boiler and is delivering savings equivalent to a teaching assistant post; and with the current round of cuts facing education, this is a real saving. Biomass of course not the only renewable energy to benefit schools; King Edward VI Community College (KEVICC) in the heart of Transition Town Totnes has installed solar PV as well as a biomass wood fuel boiler and will install a hydro turbine this Summer by virtue of it’s convenient location alongside the beautiful River Dart. We might wonder if we’re just chopping down trees and ruining our future woodlands – well, using wood fuel from Forestry is part of the natural process of sustainable Forestry – we need to bring woodland into active management, and this is all part of the Forestry Commission’s drive for England’s Trees, Woods and Forests seeks to bring more of our muchundermanaged woodland back into management for the long-term health of the Forest estate. Woodlands provide leisure and recreational activities, are a living and very visible reminder of the all-important Carbon Cycle, and produce valuable crops too – timber from mature trees for building, that locks up Carbon not just for the life of the tree, but for the life of the timber afterwards. The residues from forestry producing this timber – the early thinning, the branches and treetops etc; previously discarded as waste, now become a valuable
By Stephen Green
Stephen joined Regen SW in June 2008, and has an extensive background in Systems Engineering, Project and Programme Management, Procurement, Supply Chain Logistics and Business Improvement/Lean. At Regen SW he runs the SW Bioheat Programme for Wood Fuel. This has included he South West Bio-Energy Capital Grant Scheme, delivering exemplar wood fuel installations, and the European Programme, FOREST (FOstering Efficient long term Supply partnerships) which runs until November 2012. He holds both a BSc and MA, is a Chartered Electrical Engineer, and Member of the Association of Project Management. additional income for the woodland owner. Management of the woodland promotes wildlife habitats too. In Bristol’s case, they are also utilising arboricultural arisings from their own parkland and estates, and clean waste wood from a joinery/ shopfitting business through the Westwoods scheme that would otherwise have gone to landfill. (Westwoods also produce a free teacher’s resource pack on wood fuel education).
Fonthill Primary School
The introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive in November 2011 provides a 20 year financial payment for commercial biomass for installations such as schools, and the opportunity to move away from fossil fuels with the inherent threats to future and sudden price hikes has never been greater or more advantageous. Wood is an old fuel to us; but it’s now a new source of sustainable energy. The FOREST programme will be presenting the wood fuel opportunities, and showing examples of successful installations for biomass from our European Partners, at a series of dissemination events this year. Regen SW runs a number of events and briefing sessions for it’s members in support of the renewable energy sector, to find out more visit www.RegenSW .co.uk
KEVICC - Biomass Boiler
Connected schools, safe students Providing connectivity and related services to schools is unlike supplying businesses or homes: that’s because schools do things like videoconferencing and exchanging rich media files – not to mention having, potentially, several hundred students accessing online services at the same time – so they need high-capacity bandwidth for both uploading and downloading. To provide a residential or business service, which, typically, makes several organisations or homes share the same bandwidth, is just not sufficient for the needs of schools. If every school had to ‘go it alone’ and sort out their own services, a great deal of public money would be wasted: there is a strong economic case for schools getting together and obtaining, for example, volume discounts from suppliers. That’s the approach that was adopted 12 years ago, when the then Department for Education funded the creation of 10 Regional Broadband Consortia (RBCs) in England to connect all schools to reliable and high-capacity broadband. In fact, this is one of the greatest uncelebrated government IT projects – it delivered on time and within budget, ensuring that 99% of all schools in England were connected. The Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning (YHGfL) is similar to the other RBCs in that we are not-for-profit and funded by local authorities in our region. We provide a regional grid, linking together the local authorities and providing a range of related services to their schools. We have to be focused on what schools really want, rather than what we think they want: we exist by consent and by schools and their local authorities agreeing to fund us. The fact that in the last financial year we brought savings and benefits worth around £6m to the region is one reason why we (and the other RBCs) continue to exist. Schools’ needs do not just stop at bandwidth requirements, however. Schools have a duty of care for their students and must ensure that they are safe online – the exploitation of young people sexually, politically or in faithrelated ways is the nightmare of every school and every parent. Of course, there is a fine balance between ensuring safety and taking
advantage of the incredible value of students accessing online content, resources and services, as well as collaborating with real people around the world, and it is one which, sometimes, schools do get wrong. There are ways of limiting access to some internet sites and services while students are in school and many schools use filtering services provided by RBCs and their local authorities. However, most students these days carry devices around with them which cannot be supervised in this way, so schools need to help students to become responsible and safe users of the internet and social networks regardless of whether they are in school. This is no easy task: schools need help. RBCs provide services, content and resources which are free at the point of use to their members as well as a range of support for ensuring the safety of those that use their dedicated education networks. Increasingly, these services include consultancy. In these days of budget cuts, many local authorities have had to reduce the support they give to schools. There are now many authorities which cannot provide (for example) curriculum support for their schools. In January, the Secretary of State announced a consultation on suspending the ICT Programmes of Study from September this year, something that will present schools with a real challenge: they still, by law, have to provide an ICT curriculum, but, as has been the case in the past, there will be little capacity in their local authorities for help in developing their own. If every school is not to spend valuable time doing the same thing as every other school around them, it’s clear that someone needs to provide that support – and this tends not to be a very commercially-rewarding activity for the private sector. That’s one reason why RBCs have a strong role to play in supporting schools, not
just with broadband connectivity but with other value-added services which will help schools to develop their ICT curricula and to assist in exploiting their connectivity in safe and secure ways. All RBCs work with partners both commercial and non-commercial and we are harnessing these links both locally with our local authorities and nationally through our combined contribution to The NEN – The Education Network. In this way, we achieve economies of scale by working together. But we cannot do this alone. Our partners include Naace – the ICT Association, an organisation which works closely with its members in schools, in local authorities and in ICT consultancy. They are currently consulting on new curricula for ICT which will be built from the ground up, rather than from the top down. Other commercial partners and quality assured groups, such as those that, like us, hold the NaaceMark for Service Providers (NMSP2.0), will be helping by working with us to ensure that RBCs can provide added value, supplementing school ICT-related purchases by, for example, sharing expertise and learning across schools and regions. Groups of academies, free schools, individual schools and teaching schools are all welcome to join their local RBC should they wish to access these high value services too. Schools have come a long way with ICT in the last 30 years, but the challenge has not reduced: working in partnership is the only way forward. Phil Moore Chief Executive Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning (YHGfL) email@example.com YHGfL: www.yhgfl.net NEN – The Education Network: www.nen.gov.uk Naace – The ICT Association: www.naace.co.uk
Already a commonplace sight in the classroom, digital screens are now becoming popular fixtures in other parts of school premises too. They replace printed (or scribbled) notices with a medium that looks more attractive, can be updated simultaneously across a whole campus at the click of a mouse, and allows communication with pupils, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and other stakeholders through multimedia content such as video and audio. They’re particularly engaging for today’s pupil, already accustomed to living much of his life through a screen – whether TV, mobile phone, or laptop – and students can also be involved in preparing content for the screens, learning skills that they can apply in fields from design to IT to business. Examples of applications include information on lunch menus, sports fixtures, special events, and classroom or timetable changes.
At the heart of this network sits the management software, which performs two main tasks: it allows whoever is responsible for the network to monitor its performance (by alerting them to malfunctioning screens, for example), and it lets them designate what content should be played where, and when.
While a specialist outside firm is often brought in to design and deploy a school’s screen network, typically the task of running it day to day will fall to existing staff, so it’s essential to understand the key elements. First, there are the screens themselves – usually professional-grade LCD units, although plasma displays are also sometimes used. Around 40 inches is a common size but the optimum dimensions depend on the position of the screens, the distance they’ll be viewed from, and the kind of content shown. Sometimes video walls, which combine multiple screens to form a single display, are used to eye-catching effect in prominent areas such as entrance halls.
Media players like this one from Ginsbury are critical elements of any screen network. Simple template-based content can often be created within the software tools supplied to run the screen network; more sophisticated programming such as video or animations will require dedicated software. Interactivity is increasingly common, via a touch-enabled screen, a keyboard attached to the unit, or a smartphone. For example, interaction enables students and staff to navigate through on-screen menus, or to download information to their mobiles. There are thousands of permutations of hardware and software available, meaning that this is one field where educators must work hard to educate themselves before committing to a system. But fortunately there’s no need to reinvent the wheel: many questions can be answered by analysing successful existing installations, and working with experienced specialist suppliers. A first step could be to see what’s on offer at a major trade show such as Screenmedia expo.
Most digital signage networks use LCD displays, such as this unit from Philips. Each screen, or a group of screens in the same area, is served by a media player – a small box of electronics which plays out the content to the displays, much as a DVD player does to a television. The difference is that these media players don’t take discs; instead, they’re all linked on a network and receive content that way. (DVDs and other removable media are occasionally used to distribute content to screens around the school, but that’s an old-fashioned approach and now rare.)
Screenmedia expo 2012, which ran 16-17 May at Earls Court in London, provided an opportunity to examine products in action, to talk with vendors and integrators, and to put the screen revolution in context through the free learning programme. For more information visit www.screenevents.co.uk or from firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01733 559 461.
Are you sitting comfortably? A staggering eight per cent of children under the age of seven experience back pain. While it is not possible to attribute this to poor furniture design, it is unquestionable that this would have some detrimental effect. The pain, cost of treatment and negative effect on the quality of life aside, there is also evidence that children who report cervical and/or lumbar pain suffer from poorer school performance. Ray Barker, director of BESA (British Educational Suppliers Association), discusses the importance of schools adhering to furniture standards. BESA is committed to working with both schools and suppliers to raise the standards in education and therefore felt that a review of furniture in schools was long overdue. We worked with FIRA (Furniture Industries Research Association) and decided to start a process for change. Furniture standards at the time were based on the sizes of children measured in the 1960s. We measured 1500 children of all ages across the country. The data confirmed what is obvious: children are generally taller but, importantly, the range of sizes in any age group is now wider. Children are also a different shape with, for example, very different ratios of body to leg lengths compared to the 60s. The implications for ergonomic furniture design are substantial. Our research highlighted the benefits of good posture and ergonomic comfort in improved concentration and application. It became obvious that flexible learning environments, fit for our visions of 21st century education, required a transformation in our approach to furniture. For many schools faced with the prospect of purchasing their first new furniture for years, the problem was lack of experience and advice on what to buy. As heads scanned educational furniture catalogues they looked at prices that did not compare with the high street and unfortunately a proportion decided to buy ‘cheap’. Educational furniture manufacturers however, will tell you that the school environment is about the most hostile imaginable for a chair or table.
Furniture members of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) will normally manufacture to the British educational furniture standards BS4875 (strength and stability) and BS5873 (educational furniture), and now the European standard prEN1729 (chairs and tables for educational institutions). The latter is particularly to do with dimensions and ergonomic issues. In 2008 we fed our research data to standards bodies around Europe which resulted in the educational furniture standard, EN1729 which also had the support of DfE. Although all school furniture suppliers need to move to the new standard, they are currently only advisory. However, everyone involved in the provision of furniture for children has a duty of care. To comply with the BSEN 1729 Standard, schools should check the functional dimensions of the furniture they are looking to purchase, ensure correct ergonomics for children’s back care and make certain products will stand up to classroom demands. BESA furniture members are at the forefront of trying to get the new standard used extensively in schools. Murray Hudson, sales & marketing director, Gratnells Ltd and Chair of BESA’s Furniture special interest group, explains further; “BESA Furniture Manufacturers Group (BEFMG) members are committed to the provision of furniture which meets the highest and most up-to-date standards. An excellent example of this is the implementation of BSEN1729 – which recognises the importance of both ergonomic excellence and durability in use.“ Jessica Marshall, marketing manager, Remploy Furniture, designer and
manufacturer of high-quality, built-to-last education products supports this by adding; “It is important for furniture suppliers to be committed to continually maintain and improve product standards - both British and European. Schools should look to credible suppliers who are BESA members to ensure they receive the delivery of quality and durable product in the modern testing classroom environment.” Christine Farmer, ABC Desks summaries; “We regularly see schools which have sadly based their purchasing decisions on price, only to find that not only do they break very quickly but that they do not provide a comfortable learning environment for the students.” At BESA, our recent ‘Resources in English Maintained Schools’ research (January 2012) carried out in association with the National Education Research Panel (NERP) shows that schools are still investing in furniture, and hopefully adhering to the BSEN 1729 Standard, with an estimated £78m spending across 2012/13. Although the research showed a reduction in expenditure in furniture of -3.9 per cent in primary and 4 per cent in secondary schools, the projected reduction appears to be less dramatic for 2012/13. Primary schools are predicting a 2.6 per cent reduction while secondary schools forecast a minimal reduction in furniture expenditure of just 1.6 per cent. When you are looking for furniture, please visit www.besa.org.uk for details of the standards you should buy to and the companies to buy from (all BESA members must annually sign up to abide by the BESA Code of Practice). This will help you ensure that you get quality that will last and represent best value; and design that will minimise medical problems.
Government sets out case for reforming teachers’ pay to attract and retain the best in the profession Education Secretary Michael Gove has submitted evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) – the independent body which makes recommendations on teachers’ pay reforms. He has set out a strong case for reform, to free up the current system of teachers’ pay to ensure that teaching is a rewarding and attractive career. The evidence highlights that in order to drive up the quality of teaching and standards in schools, we need arrangements for teachers’ pay which:
• • • •
reward good performance and attract the highest performing graduates and professionals into the profession; give schools as much freedom as possible to spend their money as they see fit to meet their pupils’ needs; ensure the best teachers are incentivised to work in the most challenging schools; and provide the best value for money for the taxpayer.
Earlier this month, a major survey of teachers found widespread support for a link between teachers’ pay and their
performance, with three-quarters of teachers believing that annual salary increases should be linked to performance. Evidence shows that improving the quality of teaching is essential to driving up standards in schools. Pupils taught by good teachers score nearly half a GCSE point more per subject than pupils taught by poor teachers. The impact is even more significant for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to the Sutton Trust. For poor pupils, the difference between a very good teacher and a bad teacher may be a whole year’s education. The Government’s initial teaching training (ITT) strategy – Training our next generation of outstanding teachers – published last year set out reforms to attract the best graduates into the profession. However, the current teachers’ pay system is too rigid, complex and difficult to navigate. It does not support schools in recruiting and retaining the best into the profession. Under the current system:
automatic pay progression means there is a poor link between a teacher’s performance and reward; national pay scales mean schools in some parts of the country struggle to
recruit and retain good teachers, while others may be paying salaries which are significantly above local professional pay levels; and a number of other barriers prevent schools from responding to local labour market conditions.
In February this year, the Secretary of State commissioned the STRB to consider how reforms could be made to address this, along with teacher shortages in specific subjects and in certain areas of the country. As a first stage in the process, the STRB has called for evidence from a wide range of stakeholders, including the Government and teacher and head teacher unions. The Government sets out a number of possible options for reform for the STRB, as the experts, to consider. These include:
• • •
varying level of prescription in national pay arrangements; setting a minimum and or maximum pay level; and exploring the possibility of having local pay zones.
Following careful consideration of all the evidence submitted, the STRB will make recommendations for reform to the Secretary of State in the autumn.
UV protection in schools Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. There is growing evidence that the most serious type, malignant melanoma, is linked to incidences of painful sunburn in childhood. However, this does not mean that children should be kept indoors all of the time. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a broad term that covers three wavelength regions. UV from the sun contains radiation from the three regions. However, UV-C, which is the most energetic radiation, is strongly absorbed in the atmosphere and doesn’t usually reach the ground. We are only likely to be exposed to natural UV-C when near the top of mountains. Most of the UV reaching the earth’s surface is UV-A, which is the part of the UV spectrum that is closest to the visible light spectrum that we perceive as different colours. Whilst there is less UV-B than UV-A, it is the UV-B that is responsible for skin reddening, called sunburn or erythema, and some skin cancers. It is also the part of the spectrum that is thought to be responsible for the production
Timetable sports’ day and other outdoor events away from the middle of the day of vitamin D, which is important for bone growth. UV-A is linked to skin ageing. The World Health Organization has developed the solar UV Index to guide people on when to take action to protect themselves. In the UK, the Met Office provides UV Index predictions (www.metoffice.gov.uk) and the Health Protection Agency carries out measurements at a number of sites, presenting the information on its web site (www.hpa.org.uk – search for “UV graphs”).
One of the HPA solar radiation measurement systems
The balance between adequate vitamin D for good bone health and reducing the risk of skin cancer induction is not easy to determine. A major factor will be skin colour, but it also depends on the time of the year. Early in the year, especially around the Easter break, people tend to get sunburnt at a level of UV exposure below what they would be burned by in the summer. The greatest risk from exposure to UV is around solar noon, i.e. around 1 pm British Summer Time. However, this is also considered to be the best time to get sufficient exposure to UV-B for the production of vitamin D. How will staff know if UV protection measures are required? In the UK, it is only really necessary to consider protection from March to September, or perhaps October in the southern counties. If the predicted or measured UV Index is below 3, there is no need to take protection measures. Cancer Research UK runs the SunSmart programme on behalf of the Department of Health. The SunSmart web site (www. sunsmart.org.uk/schools) contains a number of resources for schools. Individual schools should develop SunSmart Policies in conjunction with governors, parents, teachers and, where old enough, pupils. Discussion on the Policy should consider the protection measures that may be appropriate. There are a number of ways that staff and pupils can protect themselves from excessive UV exposure. The first is to stay indoors when the UV Index is greater than 2, but this neglects the benefit of fresh air and exercise. Then there is the option to seek outdoor shade, if it is available. However,
Figure – showing HPA UV measurement sites
care is needed at the edges of shaded areas or where the shade is adjacent to concrete or other similar reflective surfaces. Wide-brim hats, that protect the back of the neck, can be worn. Clothing, including school uniforms, should be chosen to have a tight weave, but be loose fitting to allow air circulation. Essentially, if you can see light through a garment, then it will probably transmit UV. Sunscreen lotion may be used where local constraints allow – something to be discussed when developing the school’s SunSmart Policy. Sunscreen should be at least SPF15 and ideally provide protection from UV-A exposure as well as UV-B. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when sunscreen is applied. If the Policy permits, UV protective sunglasses may be worn. However, it is important that
the glasses wrap around the head to provide adequate protection from UV incident on the side of the head. Outdoor activities, including sports’ day, can be timed to avoid the middle of the day. If possible, shaded areas should be provided for spectators. It may also be worth considering the timing of breaks – perhaps a longer morning break with a shorter lunchtime. It is important to consider school trips overseas. The perception of the UV level may be wrong. Skiing trips can be sunny and
there may be a temptation to shed the ski jacket (and more) and lie in the sun in January. The lack of adaptation to UV during the winter months, a gentle (but cool) breeze and the thinner atmosphere at high altitudes may all result in unexpected sunburn. Even trips to Mediterranean countries may catch students out. The UV level may be much higher than the maximum experienced in the UK, even though the temperature may not be warm. We shouldn’t avoid the sun. Planning and the use of reasonable precautions should ensure that children and staff can enjoy the sun sensibly. Dr John O’Hagan Health Protection Agency www.hpa.org.uk
Build your own lorry and delve into an inspirational world This year’s Childcare Expo is a world of inspiration for practitioners across the UK. For starters, visitors can take away a fantastic lorry made by their own fair hands from the Community Playthings stand. This fun workshop gives delegates the opportunity to become one of Santa’s Elves as they create a hand crafted wooden lorry worth £20. Only the first 100 visitors to the stand each day will have the opportunity to take part, so it is advisable to arrive early to avoid disappointment. This is one of many activities taking place at the early years, childcare and nursery sector show. Another key attraction is the impressive feature area ‘Inspirational Themes’ created by educational resource supplier TTS. This magical area will delve deep into the imagination by taking visitors from the land of the dinosaurs right through to a magical ice and snow world. There’s even the chance to work in the Wizard’s workshop! In addition, running throughout the two days are a series of educational seminars. These are designed to inform and invigorate the early years activities programme. Visitors are also invited to take part in the ‘Play on a Budget Workshops’ which are packed with 100s of budget proof ideas. With so much to see and do, a trip to Childcare Expo 2012 will leave practitioners with inspiration for the autumn, winter and beyond. For more information, to register for a free ticket or to book onto one of the seminars, visit www.childcareexpo.co.uk. Please note that seminars cost £8 + VAT per session when booked in advance or £15 inc VAT when purchased at the show.
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Stars shine at School’s Gala Spectacular The clouds cleared and the stars came out for Seaford College’s first-ever opera gala spectacular. Internationally-acclaimed baritone Sergei Leiferkus headlined a star-studded line-up of soloists who appeared at the College, near Petworth, for the Lavington Prom on Saturday evening, including Old Seafordian Matthew Rose, soprano Ilona Domnitch and tenor Robert Murray, accompanied by the Southbank Sinfonia, under the direction of conductor Simon Over. Excerpts from La Boheme and The Marriage of Figaro preceded a rousing Russianthemed finale, with pieces from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and famous 1812 Overture, played with a backdrop of spectacular fireworks lighting up the night sky above the College grounds. Rose, who opens as Claggart in Britten’s Billy Budd at the English National Opera at the London Coliseum on June 18, organised the gala performance in conjunction with the Midhurst-based Showbusiness Production Company Ltd., said: “It has long been an ambition of mine to hold an event such as this at my old school. The College building and surrounding landscape is stunning and provided the perfect backdrop for the performance. “After a week of abysmal weather, the skies cleared to provide a perfect evening.” Seaford College headmaster Toby Mullins said: “The event was a resounding success and drew in fans of classical music from all over the South of England – not just parents and friends. “We were honoured and privileged to have such a notable line-up of performers. Particular thanks go to Matthew Rose who spent a considerable time putting the event together. It was a delight to welcome him back to school for such a fantastic occasion.”
Product Showcase Weatherite cooks up another successful installation As part of North Lincolnshire Council’s continuing school kitchen improvement programme Weatherite Building Services (WBS) has successfully completed the refurbishment to another school kitchen within the County. Messingham Primary School is the most recent school to have benefited from Weatherite’s expertise. Appointed as main contractor WBS designed, supplied and installed a complete kitchen ventilation system which included an island mounted extract canopy together with a roof mounted extract fan, all associated ductwork, tempered air facility via a roof mounted gas fired AHU. In addition, a new ceiling was provided complete with radiant heating panels fed from the existing heating system. The installation also included new roller shutter doors to the server hatch and Altro Whiterock Hygienic Wall Cladding together with associated building works. For further information please contact: Reply Weatherite Building Services Limited No. Tel: 01922 741 641 Fax: 01922 741 642 22 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer play requires good hand hygiene As summer gets into full flow, educating children on maintaining good hand hygiene throughout the warmer weather remains essential to protect against bacterial infections. TEAL, which specialise in the manufacture of portable handwash units, have developed the KiddiWash range to enable children to wash their hands anytime, anywhere. As the units do not require access to mains water or drainage, carers and teachers can maintain high levels of hand hygiene whilst children explore the great outdoors. The KiddiWash range starts from £144.00 (inclusive of VAT). For more information visit www.kiddiwash.com
Total Approach helps optimise youth education A ‘total’ approach to enabling youngsters with disabilities to realize their potential is being proven in practice across the country….
Latest statistics from the National Pupil Database shows that the percentage of pupils with special educational needs now achieving good academic qualifications has doubled in the past five years. For some of the specialist colleges, much of that success is down to an ‘outstanding’ approach to social and educational inclusion, right through to personalised adaptation of student accommodation to facilitate daily living skills. National Star College in Cheltenham, for example, has approximately 150 students, the majority of whom live in. To fulfill its mission of enabling people with disabilities to “realize their potential through personalized learning, transition and lifestyle services”, the College has had, over the years, six Clos-o-Mat ‘wash and dry’ toilets installed across its three sites, in public areas on campus and in specific student accommodation. David Crompton, National Star College estatess manager, “Our OFSTED report says ‘our approach to social and educational inclusion is outstanding. Learners show a marked growth in self confidence…
and we are good at personal development including daily living skills. The Clos-o-Mats play a key role, helping our students be as independent as possible and thus helping fulfill our mission.” Manufactured by Total Hygiene, the UK’s largest supplier of disabled toileting and bathroom solutions, the Clos-o-Mat look like, and can be used as, a conventional WC but also features integral douching and drying. As a result, users do not have to wipe clean after toileting: simply remaining seated and pressing the flush pad triggers simultaneous flushing and warm water douching, followed by warm air drying. The Clos-o-Mat Palma can be tailored to individual requirements utilizing a range of accessories such as a touch-sensitive switch, support arms, and plinths. For multi-user environments, the Clos-o-Mat Lima Lift offers the core douching and drying features of the Palma, with powered height adjustability. Total Hygiene is the only company in the UK that can design, supply, install and service a full range of equipment to create, from one source, an efficient, practical toilet, washroom, wetroom, hygiene room, or full Changing Places facility.
Total Hygiene Tel: 0161 969 1199; www.clos-o-mat.com; e: email@example.com
Product Showcase Doves Farm Foods are specialist millers, bakers and suppliers of high-quality vegan and gluten free foods perfect for special diet and food allergy catering.
• Gluten free flours and bulk baking requisites
• Gluten free premium pasta
• Gluten free mixes Reply No.
for batter, sponge and custard
• Cookies and biscuits
in bulk cases and twin packs
• Fairtrade organic
flapjacks and cereal bars
Order online at www.dovesfarm.co.uk or call our sales team on 01488 684 880 to discuss your requirements. Doves Farm Foods Salisbury Road, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 0RF Tel: 01488 684 880 Fax: 01488 685 235 www.dovesfarm.co.uk
WWF ranks Metsä Tissue best on transparency
As part of their proactive CSR commitment, R a n d s t a d E d u c a t i o n ’s Global Skills Share programme in partnership with the VSO, is already having a significant impact on the lives of children, not just in Africa but here in the UK too.
WWF has today published the results of its second WWF Environmental Paper Company Index, a rating of paper producers on their global ecological footprint. The participating tissue paper producers have allowed WWF to scrutinize their global paper production on key environmental criteria, such as fibre sourcing from sustainably managed forests, clean production and public reporting. WWF ranked Metsä Tissue – part of the Metsä Group – best in the category of public Corporate Responsibility reporting and Environmental Management Systems. Reply No. Metsä Tissue achieved an impressive result of 86% of the maximum score in this category. The second best tissue 29 producer scored 78%. The three best overall scores in the tissue category, all within a margin of less than one per cent from each other, went to SCA Tissue, Metsä Tissue and Sofidel in that particular order. “This excellent ranking is rewarding and highly motivating for the entire Metsä Tissue community, as a lot of attention and work has been put into improving our transparency and environmental performance,” says Mika Joukio, CEO of Metsä Tissue. For further information visit www.metsatissue.com.
Miriyan Sikkens, from William Davis Primary School in London is the second teacher to embark on the programme and has recently arrived in Wa, Ghana. Her three month placement involves working with teachers and children across schools in the Upper West region, which is one of the Reply poorest regions of the country. For more information visit www.randstadeducation.co.uk/vso
MCA takes cover with Canopies UK
Armstrong again for Auchrannie
Canopies UK has installed two large canopies over an outdoor seating area at Manchester Communication Academy, so this space can be utilised more effectively as a recreational or teaching area.
When the Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran needed new laundry equipment, the company researched the market and settled on Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems. The new equipment includes five 16 kg washer extractors, three 25 kg Huebsch tumble dryers and a 1800 mm Gaion drying ironer.
Following an initial appointment and site survey, Structural Engineers designed the canopies to EN1991-13:2003 before they were fitted by the specialist installation team. MD Elaine Morris explains: “Canopies UK was chosen because we offered the high-spec products required, within budget. “We’ve fitted thousands of school canopies: we can organise site calculations, building regulations, planning, health and safety requirements and surveys.
Auchrannie comprises two 4 star hotels with 64 rooms, thirty 5 star self-catering luxury lodges, three restaurants and two leisure clubs with pools, saunas and steam rooms. ‘Our laundry handles everything ’ says Richard Small ‘and our star ratings mean our standards are extremely high. The equipment works 14 hours a day, seven days a week and because of our location, reliability and high quality support matters a great deal to us. Armstrong meets all our requirements in quality and service.’
Visit www.canopiesuk.com/schools, email: Kelly@canopiesuk.com or call 01254 777002.
For further information contact Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems, Ampere Rd, Reply No. Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2AE 31 Tel 01635 263410 Fax 01635 32434
Gopak Enviro - a new revolution for UK schools
A primary school entrance fit for a king
“All installers are employed by us and are CRB checked.”
Randstad Education’s CSR initiative helps children in the UK and Africa
With secondary schools across the UK facing an unprecedented level of refit and refurbishment, there has never been a better time to invest in new school furniture. Combining style, strength and durability, the new Enviro range from leading furniture producer Gopak can play a big part in the upgrade of any school environment. Family owned Gopak has been supplying schools across
33 the UK for over fifty years with their comprehensive
and proven range of colourful furniture including tables, chairs, storage facilities, bookcases and whiteboards. For a contemporary school, the new Enviro Classroom Tables combine style, strength and durability. Lighter in weight than most school tables, they can be supplied square, rectangular or trapezoidal to fit perfectly into a number of classroom environments. In school dining rooms and cafeterias, Gopak has Enviro tables and benches which can be supplied in any one of eight coloured laminate tops and a range of sizes and shapes. To find out more about Gopak’s extensive range, visit www.gopak.co.uk, or call 0845 519 2850.
A striking glass entrance at Kingsthorpe Grove Primary School in Northampton, which was shortlisted in last year’s 3R Awards (Refurb, Rethink, Retrofit) by the Architect’s Journal, is sporting two Slimdrive SL sliding automatic operators from GEZE UK, seamlessly enabling access for all. Architectural firm EllisWilliams has created a highly transparent building which links the Grade 2 listed primary school to its nursery, while complementing and enhancing the traditional Edwardian architecture. Two sets of bi-parting automatic glass doors form a lobby to reduce heat loss or gain, providing a sustainable, safe, functional and elegant entrance. The bold, crisp lines of the framework, creating an eye-catching diamond shape above the entrance, combined with glass for maximum light and transparency, are an essential part of the architects’ design, which is why glazing specialists Birchdale Glass called on GEZE UK to supply its Slimdrive SL Reply operators for the automatic entrances. No. GEZE UK, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, 34 T: 01543 443000 or visit www.geze.co.uk
Gopak – a class act at every primary school Furnishing primary schools has never been easier with leading furniture producer and market leader Gopak. Offering a one stop shop for all your furniture requirements, Gopak can play a significant role in creating the ideal environment for learning and the future needs of your school.
Family owned Gopak has been supplying schools across 32 the UK for over fifty years with their comprehensive and proven range of colourful furniture including folding tables, chairs, storage facilities, bookcases and whiteboards. And with their new Enviro Early Years range of tables, Gopak has the colours and shapes which can brighten up any learning environment. ‘Our products have been designed to not only be tough, durable and resilient to the demands of busy classrooms but also highly functional and aesthetically pleasing in even the most modern school buildings,’ commented Andrew Fieldwick, Managing Director of Gopak. To find out more about Gopak’s extensive range, visit www.gopak.co.uk, or call 0845 519 2850 .
New dryers from Armstrong cut costs
A new range of tumble dryers has been announced by Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems. The new Huebsch range incorporates Over-drying Prevention Technology (OPT). This not only cuts energy costs but also reduces drying time, so improving productivity. The final moisture content for each cycle is fixed Reply by the operator and the OPT system delivers it with No. the optimum balance of heat input and cycle time. 35 Sophisticated sensors deliver a constant stream of dryness data to the control system. The dryer uses high temperature heat at the beginning of the drying cycle because wet work can handle more heat than dry fabrics. As the load dries, the heat input is progressively reduced. The outcome is a win-win combination of lower energy costs and shorter drying times. Additionally, preventing over-drying reduces stress on the fabrics, thereby extending their life. The new dryers are available in a full range of sizes to suit every application. For further information contact Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems,T 01635 263410 F 01635 32434 E enquiries@armstrong-laundry. co.uk W www.armstrong-laundry.co.uk