Category Archives: School News

What’s the simple and cost effective way to help maths lessons be more productive,  both for teachers and students…….? 

Every now and again I get to chat with  teachers and one of the topics that often crops up is why many students don’t  bring a pen, pencil, ruler etc to their lessons.  They tell me that this leads to wasted time and a measure of disruption,  even before teaching has begun.

In an attempt to solve this problem there’s  now a  product called the “Value Maths set ” which, as the name suggests, contains all the basics that students need for their  maths lessons.

Consisting of  two quality black ink ballpens, a full length HB pencil, eraser, 15 cm ruler, 180 degree protractor, metal compass and half pencil,  and a sharpener, all packed in an  A5 size, clear PVC “exam friendly” wallet with a zip slider.

From just £ 1.25 each (ex vat) the “Value Maths set”  is a convenient and cost effective solution to the problem of students who haven’t brought the correct kit to their maths lessons.  Ideal to give or sell  to students at the start of lessons or at the start of a school day………  also very useful for exams.

Full details of the “Value Maths set”   can be found on the website:

     www.signposteducational.co.uk 

You can order

Signpost Educational Ltd.,   PO Box 999   London   E14 6SH

SoundRanger – a portable PA system, perfect for School Sports Days & Summer Fayres.

Have you got an outdoor event coming up this summer? Will everyone hear everything that is being said?

With an easy to use SoundRanger portable PA system – everyone across the school field, children, parents, helpers and staff will hear everything easily and clearly.

Your special event will take on a really professional atmosphere as everyone will hear all of your results, information and announcements.

Built-in rechargeable batteries give you all the power you need, without mains leads trailing across the playground or field.

When you are not speaking, you can play music from your phone, that’s easy too!

Karen from Aldershot said … “Sports Day with a megaphone days are GONE! It was used today for the PTA Summer Fayre …………… oh my wow, the difference is amazing!!’

But don’t take Karen’s word for it – try the system for yourself with no charge.

Simply tell us about your event and we will put together the best SoundRanger system for you and arrange for you to try it on a 30 day Free Trial.

Set up takes just 15 minutes and then you can use it straight away.  After your event, you can of course use the SoundRanger system in your school hall as well!

There is more information about the SoundRanger systems on our website here:  www.connevans.co.uk/catalogue/3215538/

To hear what Karen heard and arrange a free 30 day trial simply call or email and leave the rest to us!

The SoundRanger Compact 4 is so reliable and robust, it has been used by the British Army to play battlefield sound effects to their recruits on assault courses!

Please reply quickly as these systems are understandably very popular during the summer!

Your students’ communication skills distinguish your school and are critical to their future.

But what is the most effective way to teach them?

Whether your students are positioning for university, corresponding, meeting with potential employers, speaking or debating… how good an impression they make will depend primarily on their communication skills. Their good impression also reflects favorably on your school.

Which raises the question, how can you help your students become superior communicators?

To stand out in today’s world, your students will need not just knowledge but also a broader vocabulary than most, an ability to express themselves clearly with just the right words, and the capability readily to explore relevant topics while focusing on the most salient points.

Following this understanding, over the past several years, we have been developing a solution which allows and indeed encourages students to expand both their vocabulary and the way in which they use the language.

As a result these students become better communicators and make a more positive impression on everyone with whom they come into contact.

And what’s more they can to do this not just in English but in 30 languages as well – all of which are available through the same web portal.

Students can thus find words they may otherwise not think of, and they don’t need to know a word or its spelling to find it.  Also they can find words on any subject of interest, they can search for words by sound (ideal for finding rhymes), search for words according to the character of the words… and so on.

You can try Wordipedia yourself for free by simply joining with a trial membership on our JOIN page as well as clicking this link to see more details of the Benefits for students and teachers.

Also, we provide low-cost access for school libraries.

WHY RECYCLED PLASTIC PLAY EQUIPMENT IS THE WAY FORWARD

The standard go-to material for playground play equipment, especially trim trails, has always been timber in either a round or square edged profile. The reason being? There was nothing else available on the market bar metal which doesn’t really suit school environments and is more commonly used in public play parks for example.

Timber does have its disadvantages though, especially rounded timber posts which suffer from radial cracking and which causes the timber to split quite badly especially when the seasons and ambient temperature change as it dries out from the core. And if it has not had the correct protection or treatment when dug into the ground, timber will rot below ground and thereby limit its intended life span.

But there is now a far better solution and that is to use recycled plastic play equipment as this material has so many benefits and advantages over timber. These are listed below:

  • It is virtually maintenance free which is a huge advantage to a school and can save quite considerably with on-going maintenance costs and time spent fixing faulty play equipment – especially if the warranties have expired
  • It doesn’t splinter, crack or have “shakes” like timber does – so no nasty incidents with children getting their fingers caught or splinters
  • It doesn’t rot or decay and requires no other type of protection when digging into the ground
  • It is incredibly durable and will therefore last a lot longer (typically five times) than traditional timber made trim trail play equipment
  • It is very eco-friendly as it is made out of recycled plastic bottles which of course is a big topical environmental issue at the moment
  • It is UV resistant so will not discolour over time
  • It is very hard to vandalise with graffiti and is also very resistant to any algae or insect infestation which can happen with timber

These are all very good reasons why a school should consider using recycled plastic for their next playground project.

The Hideout House Company offer a comprehensive range of playground equipment made out of this material as well as picnic tables, planters and adventure trails. An outdoor classroom is also under consideration. The company can also help with design, safety surfacing and installation.

If you would like to know how we can help your school develop its playground, then please contact the Hideout House Company on 01865 858982 or email: info@hideouthouse.com.

Debate Chamber Summer Schools 2018

The Debate Chamber Summer Schools offer students the opportunity to find out more about some fascinating subjects, prepare for university applications, meet like-minded peers and get to grips with some tough intellectual challenges.

The material will be challenging (for our older age-group, about the level of difficulty one might expect in the first year at university), but a relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of discussion and debate, creates the perfect environment for getting to grips with new ideas. Working in small groups (usually around 14 students per group) over several days means a real chance to get to know tutors and fellow students, and to explore the topics or questions that particularly interest each individual.

We offer a wide range of subjects, including medicine, law, science and mathematics, but here I would like to take the opportunity to highlight a few of our most popular events, all aimed at students with a keen interest in understanding more about current affairs, society, and the world around them.

Humanities and Social Science Highlights for 2018:

The International Relations Summer School for students aged 15-18. This course will introduce the central theories involved in the academic study of IR – realism, liberalism and constructivism – and will look at a range of detailed case studies in order to apply, test and explore these theories. Topics covered will include military intervention, international law, development aid, feminism and IR, and regional sessions looking at China and the Middle East, and at the European response to the migration crisis. Students will be encouraged throughout to consider their own responses to international affairs, and to engage actively with material through strategic exercises, policy briefings and debates.

See more details about the International Relations Summer School – https://debatechamber.com/project/international-relations-summer-school/

The Economics Summer School for students aged 15-18. Focusing on political economy and macro-economics, the five-day Economics Summer School will include seminars on a diverse range of topics, from financial and currency markets to an analysis of economic inequality and its potential remedies. We will also be looking at development strategies in emerging economies, and on the impact of Brexit on the UK and other economies. The focus throughout will be on debate and discussion, and on encouraging and supporting students to engage critically and actively with the material.

See more details about the Economics Summer School –https://debatechamber.com/project/economics-summer-school/

The Politics Summer School for students aged 15-18. This five-day course will look at both political theory and political science, giving students a great introduction to undergraduate level study. It will include seminars on questions of political philosophy – including human rights, representation, and civil liberties – workshops on what we as citizens can do to influence policy areas that we care about, and political science workshops on the emergence of populist movements and changing voter behavior in both the UK and US. The Summer School will conclude with a full day Mock Parliament, with participants taking the role of MPs, forming parties, making policy and debating legislation.

See more details about the Politics Summer School – https://debatechamber.com/project/politics-summer-school

Practical Details:

All the Summer School events will be held at University of London venues in Bloomsbury, Central London, and will take place in July and August 2018. Please note that these courses are not residential, and accommodation must be arranged independently if required.

You can find full details of schedules, dates, costs, student reviews and tutors at https://www.debatechamber.com/summerschools/. There is a limited amount of bursary funding available for students who would otherwise have financial difficulty in attending – please see our website for details.

To book a place please visit https://www.debatechamber.com/, call us on 0845 519 4827, or email info@debatechamber.com. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

What is really going on in the Middle East?

Is the fighting about land, power, religion? Why are Russian, Turkish, and Iranian soldiers in Syria? Who is fighting whom? And what about ISIS (Daesh), Hamas, Hezbollah?

The talks are given by two speakers together:

  1. Sami Hussein, an expert in Middle East affairs, former adviser to the British and American governments, gives balanced explanations of these complex questions in a simple, easy to understand way.
  2. A historian, also knowledgeable in current affairs, who explains the background and history of what is happening today.

We can offer talks at your school on mutually agreed dates, and will adapt to size of group and length of session.

Cost: free.

For more details and descriptions of other talks: www.middleeastedu.co.uk/talks

To book or for more details: office@middleeastedu.co.uk

Middle East Education is a Registered Charity, and a non-profit-making Limited Company

Girls have been outperforming boys in all the main attainment indicators for almost 100 years. 

So what can we do?

When the DfE released its figures to show that girls are outperforming boys in all the key attainment indicators at key stage 4, the question was obviously raised, “what do we do about it?”

But when one thinks about it, it is not just the fact that boys are doing worse at schools than girls, but there is something else going on.

For we live in a country in which 68% of MPs are male, and only 32% of members of the cabinet are women.  Which means not just that that male opinion continues to dominate social policy and law making, but also this comes from the minority of boys who keep up with girls in formal education.

Of course data like this needs to be considered carefully.  We need to think about what it is like to be a boy in school today, and to think about how we can create boy friendly facilities to start overcoming the recurring fact that boys in general under achieve.

In short we need to be aware of the invisible barriers that not only exist but which also reduce the chances of a boy achieving less than he could, just because he is a boy.

And what is perhaps particularly worrying as we do this is the recognition that 98 years ago an educational pamphlet was circulating among teachers with the cover reading “The Boy Problem”.  It seems we’ve been fighting this issue since the end of the first world war, and it is still there.

To help overcome this dilemma we have evolved a day long course which can be delivered to up to 25 staff in your school (although higher numbers are possible by special arrangement).

This course focuses on two overarching themes which relate to this issue and which might be summarised as “The Boy Problem” and “Boys Don’t Cry”.  You can find out more about this course on our website at  http://mengage.co.uk/ensuring-boys-matter/

If you would like to discuss your specific situation or find out more about the course, please contact me on 01905 570180 or on 07788 725318, or if you prefer email me at liam@mengage.co.uk

Liam Kernan

Classroom chairs with a TWENTY  year warranty…

… can save your school or college hundreds or possibly thousands of pounds  AND eliminate time wasted in trying to repair damaged chairs. 

Improvements in  design and manufacture  have  meant that the quality and durability of student chairs have improved significantly during the past few years.  The result is that it’s now possible to obtain classroom  chairs with a TWENTY  year warranty.

That’s up to TWENTY years with NO replacement costs and NO repair bills…which,  in a large school or college can save  hundreds of pounds.

Designed not only to be comfortable, durable and virtually vandal proof but also to encourage good posture, the “Postura Plus” chair is available in sixteen attractive colours and six sizes,  making it ideal for use across different departments and in both primary and secondary sectors.

For a limited period, until March 20  2018 it’s possible to order Postura Plus chairs at 2017 prices ……. a saving of at least 50p per chair on what are already very competitive prices.  Please note that to take advantage of this  offer you must take delivery before 30 March 2018.  So, if you have been considering adding to your stock of Postura chairs or perhaps introducing them for the first time here is an opportunity to do so and save money at the same time.

For more information about these chairs please visit the website  

www.centraleducational.co.uk 

 If you’d like to discuss their suitability for your organisation or to chat about a possible order please call 020 7515 1797 and ask to speak to Martin Evans who will be pleased to help.

Central Educational Supplies Ltd can also be contacted by email on

info@centraleducational.co.uk       or fax:  020 7515 4420

Central Educational Supplies Ltd.,  PO Box 999  London, E14 6SH

Australian University Open Days

On Friday 23 March and Saturday 24 March, Study Options will be holding Australian University Open Days. These are free information events aimed at students (and schools) who would like to find out more about university options in Australia.

Representatives from Australian universities will be present at the events to speak with prospective students in person. Study Options’ Open Days are held twice a year, in March and November, and are a great opportunity for students to get more information and talk to representatives from the universities face-to-face. For the majority of the universities, these are the only in-person events they undertake in the UK.

Which universities will be there?

New South Wales, Australia

The University of Sydney (Sydney)

Queensland, Australia

Victoria, Australia

Western Australia, Australia

About the events
The Open Days are open to students, parents and schools. Please register for a place at www.studyoptionsopendays.com 

Friday 23 March, 1.00pm-4.15pm
Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Saturday 24 March, 1.30-5.45pm
Australia House, Strand, London, WC2B 4LA

There is a lot more information available at www.studyoptionsopendays.com regarding venues, opening times and how to register. Please do let us know if you have any questions or if there is any further information we can provide.

Please note, these events are not suitable for students who have Australian or New Zealand citizenship (passports) as these students must apply through a separate process. You can find out more about the domestic application process on our website.

Contact Study Options with any questions about the events or for free information and advice about studying in Australia and New Zealand.

Contact Study Options
Website: www.studyoptions.com
Telephone: 0207 353 7200
Email: mail@studyoptions.com

Balance: Generating Income Whilst Effectively Maintaining Interest in PE and Sport

Many schools report that increasing the accessibility and variety of PE and Sport they can offer allows them to create new and therefore exciting lessons.

However it can be hard to maintain the heightened interest level that can be generated at the start of the programme.

In order to resolve this issue and maintain interest throughout we have developed a website that shows how a school’s indoor PE and sports facility can be enhanced.

This new website looks at everything from the development of a new sports hall floor, the use of new sports equipment, to the maintenance and use of the equipment the school already has.

We also look at how schools are introducing new sports, dance or other activities, with particular emphasis on supporting and including the least active children.  All this encourages pupil participation which can eventually become pupils taking on leadership and volunteer roles in the future.

As a result schools are starting to see improvements such as the engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity, including in competitive sport.  This has a “knock on” effect to attract outdoor teams and programmes to rent school facilities and generate a much-needed income.  This is self-serving for the school as the profile of PE and sport is raised and used as a tool for whole-school improvement.

If you would like to learn more there is an immediate opportunity on the website www.sportssurfacesuk.com

Will GDPR change the way the education sector operates?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been a hot topic in European media for a while, with talks on how this new legislation can impact different businesses across all sectors. However, although it’s one of the most dominant sectors in the world, education is sometimes left unaddressed. To find out more, we’ve teamed up with 2020 Vision, experts in IP CCTV systems and the security industry.

What is this piece of legislation?

To comprehend what impact this new piece of legislation can have on those operating in education, you need to have a clear understanding of what GDPR is. GDPR is set to strengthen data protection across Europe and will eventually replace the current Data Protection Act (DPA). It will be implemented on the 25th of May 2018. Even though the UK will soon leave the EU after the decision was made in the 2016 referendum, it’s likely that GDPR will be brought into British law by the government and enforced as if it was its own initiative to help unify data protection.

What the education sector needs to know:

Over the years, schools will have collected a strong portfolio of data on students from the past and present, as well as staff who have worked within the institution. More educational institutes acquire surveillance footage of what is happening on a daily basis through the necessary CCTV systems that they have in place. Whether it’s stored in a filing cabinet or backed up on an IT system, there’s a lot of data collected in schools and universities and this will eventually be impacted by the GDPR legislation.

Within the education sector, education centres already have a duty of care regarding the Data Protection Act (DPA) — meaning that all data stored should be protected with the greatest concern to prevent data breaches. Although this will still apply once GDPR has arrived, education practices will have a more intense responsibility of protecting data, no matter what the format is, to ensure that they comply with the new regulation.

Non-compliant organisations may find themselves paying hefty fines as a consequence for not protecting data in the correct manner outlined in this new framework. As schools will currently know, under the DPA, the non-compliance payment can reach a high of £500,000, which is enforced by the Information Commissioners Office. GDPR fines could lead up to £20 million or 4% of global turnover for both data controllers and processors.

Data Controller:

An education centre which decides how data is used.

Data Processor:

Someone who processes data on behalf of an education centre.

Around the subject of data processors, after 25th May 2018, it will become a criminal offence to choose one that doesn’t have the minimum capabilities for IT asset disposal. Education establishments will have to prove that they are working with a credible organisation when it comes to disposal of data.

In the education sector, it’s not mandatory for institutes to have a contract of agreement in place with their Data Processor. However, this is all set to change under the GDPR ruling. Next year, schools will have to have a contract or SLA (Service Level Agreement) in place with who they decide to work with — if this is not enforced, you will be breaking the law.

What the education sector can do about this problem:

Schools are already complying with the DPA, making it an easier process to make the appropriate changes for the introduction of GDPR. However, just because you’re complying with DPA doesn’t mean you’re complying with GDPR, and this will lead you to review and make some adjustments to your current policies.

According to the Information Commissioners Office, there a few steps that those working in education can take to ensure they are compliant. But the first step is awareness, and you need to make sure that people who handle any type of personal data are aware that DPA is changing to GDPR and they need to know about what they can and can’t do, whilst also understanding the consequences.

Education centres should look at who they are sharing data with, then conduct an information audit to see the reasons why. As children are usually involved, you need to put systems in place that will help verify a person’s age and then gather parental/guardian consent for any data processing activity that you might do.

Eventually, schools will want to remove data of former students from their system. To do this, you need to consider the students’ rights and this can determine how you delete data or provide data in an electronic format.

In the event of a significant data breach, there must be reasonable procedure methods in place to combat the issue and minimise the leak of data. All staff handling data should be aware of these procedures. It could be beneficial to appoint a Data Protection Officer who can take responsibility for data protection.

As GDPR is set to arrive on the 25th of May 2018, it’s vital that education centres start making the appropriate changes now.

Sources:

http://opt-4.co.uk/dictionary/DataProcessor.asp

http://opt-4.co.uk/dictionary/DataController.asp

https://strategiccfo.com/asset-disposal-definition/

http://www.itpro.co.uk/it-legislation/27814/what-is-gdpr-everything-you-need-to-know-8

https://dpreformdotorgdotuk.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/education/

THE RISE IN POPULARITY OF FOREST SCHOOL OUTDOOR LEARNING CLASSROOMS

Originally started by schools and nurseries in Scandinavia as a means of providing extra learning spaces (due to a lack of indoor facilities), the concept of forest schools has certainly gained traction in the UK in the past decade.

The overall concept of the forest schools programme is to allow children to develop self-esteem and confidence through practical and hands-on learning experiences in either a woodland or forest-style setting with trees. The programme is not just for rural based schools either as it is widely practised by inner city educational establishments as well – who perhaps benefit from it more living and learning within an urban environment.

The programme encourages regular visits rather than just being a one-off experience and has been proven to foster the emotional and mental well-being of participant pupils and students.

One could argue that the natural setting of a forest or woodland provides adequate play experiences and we would certainly not disagree with this. But we have a product range which certainly complements this theme of outdoor learning.

The most popular product in this range is our Hideout House outdoor fire pit shelter Making and lighting fires is certainly part of the Forest School initiative (under forest school practitioner’s guidance) where children can collect wood to burn in the fire pit. The shelter itself is typically octagonal in shape with a special hole in the roof to allow for easy smoke exhaustion. So as to stop rain entering through this hole (and probably putting out the fire!), there is an option to have a two tier roof system which essentially is an elevated “hat” at the apex of the building with side ventilation points.

Children can sit on the benches which run from post to post and we also apply a fire retardant intumescent varnish to the underside of the roof. You can also partially enclose the fire pit shelter with side roll-down canvas panels to give the children a bit more protection from the elements.

Dens and den making are also big features of hands-on play experiences in forest schools. Taking this into consideration, we have developed a living wall tipi. It acts as a den or shelter in the first instance but it has wire mesh side panels so that you can either grow climbing plants up to the side so that eventually it becomes totally enclosed courtesy of Mother Nature….or children can collect twigs, foliage etc and cover it themselves.

The Hideout House Company also offer a comprehensive range of outdoor shelters and classrooms which range from temporary “pop-up” bell tents and canvas canopies secured to trees right over to fully insulated and enclosed buildings. These type of classrooms are usually heated off-grid with wood burning stoves which again complements the whole forest school concept. A certain degree of power can also be supplied by solar and wind turbines.

But not a lot of money has to be spent as we can easily supply a package of an open fire pit with surround woodland benching, a bug hotel and nature observation tables with a magnifying glass attached.

If you would like to know how we can help your school develop its forest school activities and programme, then please contact the Hideout House Company on 01865 858982 or email: info@hideouthouse.com.

 

Generating income whilst effectively maintaining the pupils’ interest in PE and sport

Many schools report that increasing the accessibility and variety of PE and Sport they can offer allows them to create new and therefore exciting lessons.

However it can be hard to maintain the heightened interest level that can be generated at the start of the programme.

In order to resolve this issue and maintain interest throughout we have developed a website that shows how a school’s indoor PE and sports facility can be enhanced.

This new website looks at everything from the development of a new sports hall floor, the use of new sports equipment, to the maintenance and use of the equipment the school already has.

We also look at how schools are introducing new sports, dance or other activities, with particular emphasis on supporting and including the least active children.

All this encourages pupil participation which can eventually become pupils taking on leadership and volunteer roles in the future.

As a result schools are starting to see improvements such as the engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity, including in competitive sport.

This has a “knock on” effect to attract outdoor teams and programmes to rent school facilities and generate a much-needed income.  This is self-serving for the school as the profile of PE and sport is raised and used as a tool for whole-school improvement.

If you would like to learn more there is an immediate opportunity on the website www.sportssurfacesuk.com

Last chance to book Macbeth for in-school or on stage performances

It was fantastic! So professional and carefully engineered to give the students what they need.

There’s still time to book a performance of Macbeth for your students.

Fred Theatre’s revival of last year’s very successful Macbeth (Making Scotland Great Again) is out on the road this term and you still have time, just, to book an in-school performance. Why not give your students the advantage of a live performance at a competitive rate?

Our 90 minute adaptation is a fresh and exciting re-telling of the familiar and much-loved story. Macbeth features a cast of six professional actors. We concentrate on the text and producing a faithful representation of the original—just a little shorter!

All we need to perform at your school is a space approximately 5m x 5m with room (of course) for the audience. If you have room, and feel it would be a good idea, you can also invite some parents along too, so that they can see what their sons and daughters are studying.

To find out more, simply e-mail Helen in our office, helen@fred-theatre.co.uk, or call us on 01789 777612. We’ll collect a few details from you and respond with potential dates and a quote.

Macbeth can also be seen on stage in London at The Cockpit, Marylebone, on Tuesday 20 February at either 13:30 or 19:30. All tickets are £10 with comps for staff.

Robert Ball
Artistic Director
fred-theatre.co.uk

PS: We love getting feedback from schools. Here’s what one teacher wrote after a performance of Macbeth at her school a couple of weeks ago:

Hi Helen,

I just wanted to provide some feedback on today’s performance. It was fantastic! So professional and carefully engineered to give the students what they need. The actors were really impressive—they held the audience for the entire performance; no mean feat when dealing with 210+ sleepy teenagers!  

Kind regards,

Kathy Bliss, Parmiter’s School, Nr Watford