Fnatic becomes first Esports organisation to launch college partner programme

Sam Matthews, Fnatic Founder

Global esports performance brand, Fnatic, has today launched the first ever dedicated college partner programme, supporting young people in their pursuit of a career in gaming. Inspired by the launch of Pearson Esports BTEC, Fnatic created the programme to ensure the course is widely available to those hoping to break into the industry. From producing an esports brand to managing tournaments, Fnatic’s objective is to provide students with direct access to a real-world gaming brand. From guest speakers to the delivery of networking events, Fnatic’s work will provide real industry insights, and highlight the variety of roles that sit within the esports sector. The London-based organisation has partnered with three key college partners across the UK, including Havant & South Downs College, Access Creative College, and Queen Mary’s College (QMC). James Fraser-Murison, Esports Director at QMC and National Trainer for Pearson said: ” As the leading provider of esports teaching in the UK, this is huge for our students and also the college.  “To partner up with the biggest esports organisation in the UK, will mean we are directly giving our students a step-up into the industry with first-hand experiences, careers advice and opportunities from a global brand in one of the largest industries in the world.” Rhys Williams, Former League of Legends Coach and Player, Current Tutor at HSDC said: “We’re very excited here at HSDC to be working with Fnatic as part of the College Partner Programme.  “This partnership will open doors for the next generation that were so hard to find over previous years, it has the potential to shape the future of the educational esports scene.” Sam Matthews, Fnatic Founder said: “We are super passionate about bringing new talent into our world and this partnership is our way of onboarding the next generation of gamers, whilst giving back to the community.  “We’re so appreciative of the college partners who share our vision in supporting the development of these upcoming esports hopefuls.”  To benefit future esports industry-professionals, Fnatic has outlined six key aspects of the community college programme which enhance the existing Pearson BTEC, and gives exclusive access to those on the course: 1.       Delivering lectures and webinars Fnatic will deliver hyper-relevant lectures and webinars specific to the curriculum that add value and support learning with real-world examples.  2.       Networking events Fnatic will host interactive networking events for students to prepare them for industry events and connect them with future peers. In addition, the Esports organisation will give students inside access to their offices, facilities and staff to provide on the ground learning.  3.       Real world task setting Based on the gaming curriculum, Fnatic will design creative tasks to give real-world examples of the challenges students may come across when working in the industry. 4.       Discount on Fnatic GEAR Fnatic will offer up to 20% discount on Fnatic GEAR to kit out arenas and classrooms with the best quality equipment for interactive learning. 5.       Exclusive access to events and activations Provide exclusive access to students wanting to get involved in events and activations with an announcement-only server. 6.       Hosting tournaments and providing prizes To incentivise learning Fnatic will host innovative tournaments and share prizes for winners The partnership – which runs exclusively as not-for-profit – will officially launch for the new school term in September 2022. In the meantime, Fnatic will be working closely with the college partners to continuously refine and improve the programme to deliver the highest-level content for aspiring esports athletes. For more information please visit: www.fnatic.com/company/collegeprogramme

Grow your own potatoes has a new home

The Grow Your Own Potatoes project

The Grow Your Own Potatoes project has a new home with Potato House Ltd website Potato House | Home of High Quality Seed Potatoes | Free UK Delivery and will be going ahead as normal in 2023. DON’T MISS OUT. Sign up for your FREE growing kit NOW registration page Register | Grow Your Own Potatoes Linked to the UK curricula, the aim of this interactive, hands-on project is to educate children all about potatoes: where they come from, how they grow and how they fit into a healthy balanced diet. Open to primary schools nationwide, all schools that sign up will receive a growing kit containing everything they need to grow two crops of potatoes, as well as access to the project support resources on the GYOP website. • Register to receive a growing kit for your school. • Download free curriculum resources including lesson ideas, worksheets, games and colouring sheets for interactive classroom activities. Cross-curricular ideas to support other lessons are also available. • Chance to win prizes for your school.. GIVE YOUR SUPPORT FOR GYOP To help raise funds for GYOP, Potato House have agreed to donate 20% of all takings from the sale of their Children’s patio kits  kits for sale Children’s Patio Kit | Seed Potatoes | Potato House | Free Uk Delivery Each kit contains two varieties of seed potatoes and is dispatched free of charge.  Visit the website for more information. www.growyourownpotatoes.org.uk 

Forgotten Girls: The Reluctant Girl Readers 

forgotten girls reading

More than 2 in 5 (44%) girls aged 8 to 18 say that they don’t enjoy reading, according to a new report(i), Forgotten Girls: The Reluctant Girl Readers, published today by the National Literacy Trust, with funding from Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland. The conversation around reluctant readers most often focuses on (re)engaging boys in reading, rarely considering girls, despite evidence indicating that this group is sizeable. The report reveals: 2 in 5 (44%) girls aged 8 to 18 don’t enjoy reading 1 in 10 (10%) girls aged 8 to 18 don’t read at all in their free time 1 in 5 (19%) girls aged 6 to 14 can be classed as struggling with their reading skill. The charity is concerned that hundreds of thousands of girls aged 8 to 18 could be hindering their academic, social and economic prospects. A recent research report(ii) shows that reading for pleasure out of school is a major contributing factor to success at school and then in later life and is even linked to a higher lifetime earning potential. The National Literacy Trust and Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland (ELC UK&I) extended their   partnership in summer 2021 seeking to understand the root causes of low literacy engagement and skills and support better life prospects for children in the UK. Based on a survey of more than 21,000 girls and data from over 286,000 reading assessments(iii), this new research aims to highlight the significant number of girls with poor reading engagement and skills. When compared with girls who do enjoy reading, the research also reveals that four times as many girls who don’t enjoy it say they can’t find things to read that interest them (44% vs 11%). Furthermore, only 1 in 6 (17%) of this group believe reading is ‘cool’. Motivational issues, such as interests, play an influential role for girls who don’t read at all in their free time. Almost two-thirds (63%) of girls said they struggle to find reading material that matches their interests. The research shows that greater diversity and more relatable characters in books are more of an issue for girls who don’t enjoy reading.  More girls who don’t enjoy reading said that they find it difficult to find books with characters or people who are like them compared with girls who enjoy reading (39% vs 31%). Fiona Evans, Director of School Programmes at the National Literacy Trust, said: “Much of the existing literacy research indicates that boys perform less well in reading and that they report lower reading enjoyment, but this report shows that girls’ reading performance is also an issue, and that the problem exists regardless of gender. “This report unearths a serious potential crisis for reluctant girl readers across the UK who have the potential of being forgotten as the spotlight continues to shine on boys’ reading development only. It’s not too late to change the outcomes for this generation. The National Literacy Trust and our partners provide valuable support that both girls and boys need to support their reading engagement and skills.” Sue Fox, President, The Estee Lauder Companies UK & Ireland, said: “As a female-founded company, we want every young woman and girl to fall in love with reading and obtain the necessary literacy skills they need to reach their full potential. It’s concerning that so many young women say they don’t enjoy reading. Today’s research highlights the need to do more to support reluctant girl readers and further strengthens our commitment to partnering with the National Literacy Trust to help to ensure that no girl gets left behind.” The report also highlighted differences in the number of girls who don’t enjoy reading by geographic regions in England. The highest percentage of girls who don’t enjoy reading was found in Yorkshire and the Humber (51%) and the South East (48%). The regions with the lowest percentage of girls who don’t enjoy reading were the West Midlands (42%) and London (38%).  For more information on the report and the partnership between National Literacy Trust and ELC UK&I, visit literacytrust.org.uk/forgottengirls.

Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils


The Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD) is a charity founded in 1989 to help parents and those who advise them, choose an educational establishment to support a student with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). These include Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ADD, ADHD as well as Pragmatic and Semantic Language Difficulties. The CReSTeD Council includes representatives from the BDA, Dyslexia Action, Dyslexia-SpLD Trust, the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, educational psychologists and schools. CReSTeD maintain a Register of schools and teaching centres, accredited for their provision for students with SpLD. These establishments are visited by a Consultant, selected for their experience in the field of SpLD, to ensure that the criterions set by CReSTeD are met. All schools and centres are revisited every three years or earlier in certain circumstances. If successful, they are placed into one of six categories according to their type of provision: The MS category includes schools approved by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) as Dyslexia Friendly Quality Mark Schools.  These schools have demonstrated a high commitment to dyslexic learners and undergone rigorous scrutiny in order to achieve the Quality Mark award, an honour that they hold for 3 years before being re-verified by the BDA. They are identified on the CReSTeD Register with the BDA Dyslexia Friendly Quality Mark logo.  The CReSTeD Register is available to view via the website https://crested.org.uk/index.html  It’s a valuable resource for parents, educational advisers and schools. Further information For more information about CReSTeD email: admin@crested.org.uk   Website: www.crested.org.uk

Mindapples promoting mental health and wellbeing across the UK since 2008

Mindapples promoting mental health and well being - Classroom

Over the years we’ve received lots of similar feedback from adults saying “if only I was taught this at school.” Our vision at Mindapples is of a world where taking care of our minds is natural and normal for everyone – and this should start with children and young people. Since mental wellbeing and resilience has become a statutory part of the curriculum, we want to help schools deliver on this promise to young people. Working with schools across the UK, we have developed a package of training and classroom resources to support teachers in delivering the new curriculum and developing an approach to mental wellbeing that can benefit the whole school community of staff, pupils and parents.  We recently had the opportunity to visit St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Bath and asked them about the impact our training had on the mental health and wellbeing of staff and children. You can watch the film and read more about our schools programme here.  https://mindapples.org/charity/schools/ In early December we took part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, a digital match funding campaign. Through the generosity of our donors during the campaign we managed to reach our target of £20,000, meaning we can now provide our training and support packages to another 100 schools in the UK. We are now looking for more UK Primary and Secondary schools to receive our training so if your school is interested, please email Michele Worden at schools@mindapples.org or nominate your school online by completing the form at www.mindapples.org/nominate. Our virtual training sessions equip school staff with the awareness and understanding they need to take care of their own minds, and the tools to help them facilitate positive conversations about mental health and wellbeing with pupils, school communities and families, to build cultures which promote healthy habits and open conversations.   We love hearing from schools about the impact our training has: “We are so proud to have been a part of the Mindapples well-being pilot. Our children have hugely benefited from a strategic approach to supporting their mental health and well-being upon our full return to school.” – Lyndsey Jefford, Assistant Headteacher, Heber Primary School, Southwark To complement the training, we provide school campaign packs and age-targeted lesson plans and assembly resources. Packed with colourful materials, posters, applecards and other ideas for engaging young people, these resource packs allow staff to run their own wellbeing campaigns for pupils, colleagues, parents and the wider school community. “We really loved the apples, it’s just a lovely visual way for the children to think about those things which are positive for them and as it’s such lovely quality card it makes it feel really special.” – Sorcha Rudley, Mindapples champion and Year 4 teacher, St Mary’s RC Primary School, Bath Mental health can feel like a heavy, medical topic, something to be left to the professionals. But we all have mental health, and the things we do every day affect it. We all each have an amazing opportunity to improve our lives, simply by taking better care of our minds. Let’s give young people the tools to do just that. Find out more at www.mindapples.org/schools.

10 marathons in 10 days to raise money

Laura 'Birdy' Bird 10 Marathans in 10 days to raise money for those who saved her life

Fighting for her life after a suicide attempt, Laura ‘Birdy’ Bird ended her turbulent adolescence physically and psychologically broken.  Fast forward 10 years and she has run 10 marathons in 10 days to raise money for the people who saved her life. Join Birdy on her moving and motivational 10-year journey from learning how to walk again, through the challenges of training for an Ironman, to taking on the brutal Directing Staff as a recruit on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins. Culminating in taking on the biggest ultra-marathon running challenge she has ever faced. Funny, raw and emotional, this is a story of so much more than just running. It is a candid memoir of resilience, positivity and a renewed gratefulness for everything life has to offer, after coming so close to losing it all.

Covid-19 impact on the lives of young people

Abercorn School

‘Andrea Greystoke is the Founder of Abercorn School, a leading independent school which has recently announced its expansion to accommodate an older age group in response to an oncoming demographic shift in Britain, in which the number of 18 year-olds is expected to grow by 25% over the next decade.’ Here’s what Andrea Greystoke has to say about Covid’s on-going impact on children and the latest measures the government is encouraging schools to introduce in response to the Omicron variant gaining momentum in the UK. ‘Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect on the livelihoods of many, and has had a particular impact on the lives of young people, whose education has been irreparably changed. A recent Ofsted Annual Report highlighted the widespread social and educational suffering brought about by restrictions and lockdowns.’ ‘The last year has undoubtedly been extremely difficult for many pupils, teachers and parents, and so I am supportive of measures that can be introduced in schools to ensure that they can remain open and to try and slow the spread of Covid, including mask wearing in senior schools.’ ‘Testing pupils when they return from their Christmas holidays is a small ask to protect children’s wellbeing and education in the classroom, as well as preventing the need for tougher measures to be considered.’ ‘As quickly as schools like Abercorn adapted to online learning, for many young children, it was not a comfortable experience and we should do everything possible to avoid this happening again. We prioritise learning in a structured, but also sociable and supportive environment at Abercorn, and these key principles are so important to the personal development of children throughout their educational journey all the way through to A-Levels.’ ‘Wellbeing is not something that can be instantly provided, but is something that can be nurtured in a child with the help of a quality and caring education. The process of building this important sense of wellbeing and security is not straightforward, and takes time and consideration… Lockdowns mean that this journey has been hugely disrupted and we should do whatever we can to ensure that our schools can stay open to safeguard this process.’   ‘At Abercorn’s Upper School, pupils and staff have been wearing masks throughout the pandemic. This is something that we will be continuing to ensure that we protect the education, health and wellbeing of our students and staff.’ ‘I believe that wellbeing is an essential prerequisite to the acquisition of knowledge and a successful, happy schooling experience, and schools uniquely offer an environment where these values can be fostered, nurtured and left to flourish. Ensuring we do whatever we can to keep our schools open is essential.’   https://www.abercornschool.com/ 

Wates appointed to £7bn schools construction framework

Combe Wood School Croydon - Wates Group £7bn construction framework

Wates maintains long partnership with Department for Education. Wates Group has cemented its long association with the Department for Education (DfE), with the announcement of its appointment to 11 lots of the DfE’s new 2021 Construction Framework (CF21). Under the four-year framework, Wates Construction will continue to deliver projects worth £12m and above in the North and South of England, and for the first time deliver Low Value Band (£500,000 to £6m) projects across the country, alongside Wates Smartspace. Wates has been a key DfE supplier since 2011 and is their first contractor Strategic Supplier Relationship Management partner. Alongside the new framework Wates is currently delivering work via the DfE’s Modern Methods of Construction (MMC-1) framework, which was awarded in January 2020. These framework appointments put Wates at the heart of the Government’s strategy including opening new free schools, and their ambitious 10-year School Rebuilding Programme. Today’s announcement builds on Wates’ heritage as one of the country’s most prolific builders of schools and educational facilities in the country, which dates back over 60 years.   School stats £2bn of Wates delivered schools in the last 15 years 120,000+ pupil places created/supported 244 schools completed, including 75 (£900m) via DfE frameworks £400m+ of school projects currently in preconstruction or on site £15.2m social value generated in 2020, including £7.6m of Social Enterprise spend 2,700 Apprenticeship weeks since 2017 Since Wates built its first school in 1961, it has been at the forefront of innovation in educational design, including its industry leading ‘Adapt’ solution, a component-based school kit which deploys offsite manufacture to provide a more efficient and sustainable method of construction. Now in its third iteration, Adapt has been used successfully to build 64 schools, saving waste and ensuring a consistent, high-quality approach. The Group has also pioneered the development of Net Zero Carbon in Operation (NZCiO) schools, with four Adapt-Zero (NZCiO) schools currently under construction in the North of England via the MMC-1 framework, demonstrating readiness for the CF21 framework NZCiO requirement. Steve Beechey, Group Public Sector Director, said: “We’re proud of our record as one of the country’s leading school builders and excited to be appointed across multiple CF21 lots enabling us to continue and expand upon our long-standing, and successful partnership with the DfE, one of our most important customers. “Over the last ten years, our partnership has been built on the excellent relationships we’ve developed with the DfE, its technical advisers, and the schools themselves. “Our ongoing commitment to delivering the best learning environments has seen us drive innovation in advanced standardisation, delivering the greatest social value and now the smallest environmental footprint – via the NZCiO environments, where our next generation of young people will learn.”    

Cardiff City Hall to host Wales’s biggest Mental Health Conference in 2022 with Frank Bruno MBE

mental health conference 2022 Frank Bruno MBE

The Headspace magazine are pleased to be working with the Mental Health and Wellbeing Show 2022 in Cardiff! Organised by Ajuda Event Management, Cardiff City Hall is due to host one of the biggest Mental Health and Wellbeing events in the UK on 10th May 2022 to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, with Frank Bruno MBE in attendance as keynote speaker! The all-day event will welcome over 1,000 guests to the Welsh capital to raise awareness and develop knowledge on a wide range of topics including workplace mental health, suicide prevention, eating disorder awareness, men’s mental health, bereavement, diversity & inclusion, youth mental health, mindset, substance misuse, and much more. Included in the day is over 35 live seminars, 70 exhibitors in our exhibition and lots of networking opportunities. Organisations joining on the day include Samaritans, NSPCC, BEAT, Action for Children, 2 Wish Upon a Star, and National Centre for Mental Health among many more. The event is supported and sponsored by Ajuda Training and Precision Biotics.  Frank Bruno MBE will be presenting a keynote talk on his inspiring story of resilience and strength after facing years of ongoing mental health issues. His battle with mental health led him to form the Frank Bruno Foundation to help other people who are suffering. Tickets for Frank’s talk begin at £25 per person, with the option to upgrade to a dining experience with Frank.  Other speakers include founder of 2WishUponAStar Charity and recent Pride of Britain recipient Rhian Mannings MBE, former professional footballer Neville Southall MBE, Paralympic athlete Andy Lewis MBE, Member of the Senedd Jack Sargeant and a host of special guests will be speaking on mental health and wellbeing for this monumental event. Event director Dawn Evans says: “Following such a difficult few years for all, I could see there was a clear need for a bigger and more extensive event around mental health and wellbeing in the UK. The team at Ajuda always strive to provide our customers with the training and events that really matter to them, so we decided to create an event to accommodate the rising need for mental health and wellbeing training.” Tickets for the event are already available to book, with entry to the exhibition free and seminar tickets at just £5 per person. Tickets can be ordered on Eventbrite or by contacting the Ajuda Events team on 02922 400382 or events@ajuda.org.uk