College inspires budding female engineers

Gateshead College Automotive teacher Katy Malia with pupils Gracie and Leilana from Bede Community Primary School and (back) Nexus and Gateshead College apprentice Morgan Saville

Apprentices and students at a North East college are inspiring the next generation of female engineers, architects, digital creatives and software experts through interactive workshops.

Gateshead College teamed up with four primary schools from across the region – Bede Community, Brighton Avenue and Lingey House in Gateshead and Bournmoor in Houghton-le-Spring – to invite their pupils to a day of fun-filled activities.

The event included sessions on architectural engineering, automotive engineering, computer programming and games design which were delivered by college teachers supported by current students and apprentices. 

GDPR - Prepared for the change?

Calibres Steve Nelson

THE management of data and information in schools will change with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. Steve Nelson, operations director at Calibre Secured Networks, which provides IT services to dozens of schools, warns that those with responsibility for implementation need to start preparing for its arrival.

The GDPR will, from 25 May 2018, replace the Data Protection Act (DPA), signalling a change in the way schools manage and look after a wide variety of data and information: from paper in filing cabinets, through to the keeping of student and staff records to monitoring day-to-day activities and security. 

Capitalising on technology to engage pupils and reignite their interest in learning

Fleur Sexton

Today’s school children and students are the first generation of true ‘digital natives’ – also known as ‘millennials’ - who have grown up with technology.

Spending much of their free time online messaging friends and playing games, this generation is completely at home in front of a screen. So it’s vital that as teachers we capitalise on this love of technology and use it to reach out to them on their terms. The technology helps to take the fear out of learning because it is a platform with which they already feel at ease. They are more likely to be interested in learning if they can use their phones, computers and iPads in school.

Central College Nottingham rolls out Hytera DMR System

digital radios

Central College Nottingham has announced the successful roll-out of a Hytera DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) system across the whole college.

The system, which combines Hytera’s PD605 and PD665 hand portable radios, replaces an existing analogue system which had proved hard to maintain, and not as user friendly, with some black spots around the campuses poor transmission and call quality.

The college initially transitioned with a set of Hytera TC610 analogue radios, which were hugely appreciated by users around the college. They proved to be robust and easy to use, so it was a logical choice to upgrade to Digital Mobile Radio with a Hytera system.

Why joining a MAT was like getting married all over again…

Why joining a MAT was like getting married all over again…

Whether we like it or not, it appears that more and more schools will become ‘married’ as part of a Multi Academy Trust in the years ahead; leaving behind their relative independence (and the varying quality of parenting provided by different Local Authorities) in order to enter into an often polygamous lifelong partnership with other schools.  Like eternal bachelors, many schools are sitting quietly, hoping  that it will ‘never happen to them’ but I believe there’s a certain inevitability that, as time passes, the benefits of shacking up together (or perhaps more significantly, the risks of staying single) will become more substantial and tip more and more organisations this way.


The role of academies in achieving a world-class education for all

At 9.45am on Friday 17 March, at the NEC, Birmingham, Rt Hon David Laws will be hosting a session at Bett Academies, looking at the role that academy schools play in achieving a world-class education for all children. He will be guiding attendees through the evolution of the academy schools programme, and the impact it has had on various areas of performance and achievement. With informed and practical advice on how to work within an academy to achieve a world-class level of education, this is a must-attend session for all academy and multi academy trust (MAT) leaders and teachers. Here, David gives us an insight into what we can expect from his session, and how academies have changed and developed under the previous two Governments. 


Carving the shape of the new educational landscape

Carving the shape of the new educational landscape

Andrew Fielder, CEO of Aspire Academy Trust, will be presenting at Bett Academies (NEC Birmingham) at 1:45 on Friday 17 March


The aim of Andrew Fielder’s presentation will be to ignite discussion about the shape of the new educational landscape. Despite recent debate in the press, the objective of academies and multi-academy trusts (MATs) remains: to create a world class Trust, providing children with an outstanding education for generations to come.


Diversity Matters: Who is on your Senior Leadership Team?

Two thirds of the teaching profession are women and yet only one third reach a level of leadership. This is an incredible and tragic fact, isn’t it?!


For most, this might be surprising, yet in the 21st Century we have all continued to allow it to happen. Diversity across leadership teams is a highly important issue that until recently has not been valued in many schools.


Two years ago, I connected with six secondary school leaders via social media. They were all women and were equally exasperated by the lack of females in school leadership roles. 


MESMA delivers a quality job for college merger

MESMA in use

A London college has turned to a web-based management tool to secure quality assurance during a spate of strategic mergers.

Over the last three years Bromley College has undergone a number of transformations to secure the quality of FE provision in the local area, which has in turn seen it go on to complete mergers with Orpington, Greenwich Community and Bexley colleges to form London South East Colleges. 

The move has led to the creation of a college that today caters for more than 20,000 pupils studying for a wide range of vocational courses that lead to BTEC, NVQ, City & Guilds and other specialist qualifications, as well as higher education courses validated by the University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University. 

Money for Grammar Schools is only part of the solution

Alan Fraser

I’m going to start with a confession. I went to a grammar school.

At the time it didn’t feel particularly controversial, indeed my father – who left school at fifteen with a certificate saying he could read and write, and who had never earned more than £60-a-week by the time he died in 1987 – was incredibly proud of my achievement.

But today mentioning that you went to one of the nation’s hated grammar schools seems tantamount to admitting to a criminal record. Rather than being the passport to a better career that we were promised, I’m half expecting ‘grammar school attendance’ to start showing up on my annual DBS check and being used as a justification for excluding me from sensitive roles.

Protecting children from online dangers

Stella James

Recently, there has been an increasingly alarming number of reports in the media about children being targeted and groomed online. Pretty much everything our children do now is connected with being online; young people do not differentiate between online and offline life, it is simply ‘their life’. Therefore, we need to educate younger generations toensure they’re able to navigate the internet safely, says Stella James, founder of Gooseberry Planet. 

Kids to go bananas over their lunchbox

Freddy Fyffes, the cartoon character

24,000 primary schools across the UK are being invited to ask their pupils: ‘How does a banana get to your lunchbox?’

The question forms part of an educational campaign run by the charity Seafarers UK in partnership with Fyffes. It will encourage children to think about the maritime world and how 95% of UK imports come by sea, including their favourite fruit, with the UK eating more than five billion bananas every year.

Freddy Fyffes, the cartoon character, stars in a free fun activity sheet aimed at five to sevenyear olds, for use in the classroom or at home. Freddy travels from a banana farm, across the sea, to Fyffes’ ripening and distribution centres, then on to greengrocers and supermarket shelves.

Institute for Research in Schools’ “remarkable” first year

• The Institute for Research in Schools was launched in March 2016 and is now celebrating its first year

• It currently works with over 300 schools in the UK and internationally to facilitate student-led research projects and empower teachers in STEM

• IRIS has launched over 10 projects this year, including TimPix, a project run in association with the UK Space Agency that was recently promoted by NASA to schools in the US


How to Create Better Learning Environments for Pupils


The schools of the UK are facing a number of challenges at the moment; not least of this is the continuing rise in pupil numbers. The need to squeeze greater numbers of pupils into buildings designed with much smaller intakes in mind is forcing a lot of schools to compromise on other aspects of their learning environment. Add in changing curriculums and, often, squeezed budgets and creating the best possible learning environments becomes a bigger challenge than ever before.

Emphasise Flexibility

Shabby Schools Are Failing Students & Teachers According To Education Sector Boss

Gerard Toplass, chief executive officer of British Thornton

New Research Reveals Major Decline in Spend on Learning Environments

The head of one of the UK’s leading education sector suppliers has said that a growing number of ‘shabby schools’ across the UK are not only failing pupils but are contributing to the lack of new entrants to the teaching profession, when linked to new schools spending data revealed by the company. 

New research by British Thornton, the UK’s largest educational furniture manufacturer, has shown that cuts to funding in the sector have led to significant reductions in investment in learning environments, to the detriment of both students and teachers alike.