Unions slam free schools plan as an "irresponsible use of public money" ahead of tomorrow's Budget

Tomorrow's Budget will confirm £320m of funding for free schools

Teaching unions have spoken out in frustration regarding plans to invest £320m in free schools, while existing schools are forced to save £3bn by 2020.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to announce the multi-million pound fund in tomorrow's Budget, which will be used to create up to 140 new free schools, including grammar schools.

These will be in addition to the 500 already pledged to come into fruition by 2020 and aim to give power back into the hands of parents and local communities. 

Mr Hammond said: "These announcements take the next steps in giving parents greater choice in finding a good school for their child, whatever their background.”

Research reveals a rise in smartphone use to boost studies

group of students

The education sector is seeing a shift towards the digital age after a recent report revealed that more than 80% of students are using their smartphone to boost their studies. 

A report from YMCA awards revealed that 82% of students valued a mix of both traditional offline resources and digital tools to get the most out of their schooling. 

The research examined the learning techniques of 250 students and found that 78% of students use websites, 70% use online quizzes and 62% use online videos, and 25% use online games to support their studies. 

These findings coincide with recent news that smartphones have overtaken desktop devices for web browsing. 

Schools across the nation take part in special wildlife challenge

Schools across the nation have been taking part in a special activity to find out a little more about the wildlife on their doorstep. gratnells-bird-feeder-trays.gif

The RSPB's (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Big Schools' Birdwatch is rolling out in schools up and down the country, encouraging children to become part of the world's biggest wildlife survey.

Running until 17 February, the initiative aims to bring children closer to nature by involving them an hour-long activity that is suitable for students of all ages and abilities. 

Winners of Bett Awards 2017 are announced

bett-awards-2017-all-winners.gifLeaders of innovation within the education sector battled it out to be crowned the winners at a prestigious awards ceremony last night. 

The winners of this year’s Bett Awards were announced last night in a glittering awards dinner held at The Tobacco Dock in London. 

The annual awards encourage and recognise outstanding education sector resources, learning solutions and companies.

New app developed to accelerate early-years literacy

Schools can find out more about an innovative app to accelerate early reading. 

Edtech startup Zaprendo is announcing the launch of its learn-to-read-app, Sounds English Phonetics, at this year’s technology-education show, Bett.

The app is designed to boost reading achievement and early-stage literacy by teaching pupils with a reading age of between six and nine years to utilise 92 commonly occurring grapho-phonemes (written sounds).

Children learn by watching a video that demonstrates how to say the written sounds through video, in either British or American English, with learning consolidated through the in-app formative assessment. 

Pupils online: National survey of 19,000 UK pupils reveals new trends in children’s internet use

The results of a national pupil survey on internet use will be released on 30 January 2017 ahead of Safer Internet Day, taking data from 60 schools and 19,000 pupils
Primary-aged pupils are more frequently using tablets and smartphones to access the internet
With greater access to the internet, concerns have been raised around the content that is accessible by young children, and how this can be combatted effectively

Music and memory: Education app debuts at Bett

Schools can find out more about an innovative app designed to help young people with their studies at the education event of the year.

The biggest education technology show on the calendar, Bett, will begin tomorrow and will feature some of the sector’s newest products.

Among them will be Studytracks, a new app that merges music with study materials to help jog students’s memories. 

How can schools improve their recruitment and retention of teachers?

How can schools improve their recruitment and retention of teachers?


It is common knowledge for everyone with an interest in education that primary and secondary schools across the UK are finding it more and more difficult to attract and retain teaching staff.

The route of the problem is evident: numbers of pupils in schools are increasing year on year whilst the DfE’s targets for recruitment of new teachers are not being met. In addition to this, last year alone 42, 000 teachers left the profession and the pull of sunshine and tax free earnings culminated in 18,000 teachers leaving for schools abroad. It is not surprising that adverts for teacher vacancies are not yielding the same success as they were 5 years ago.

Providing schools with all they need to encourage the artists of the future

Providing schools with all they need to encourage the artists of the future

Investing in the next generation of creative minds is a key element in the role of an education provider, and one that art, craft and graphic supplier Art in Education is ideally suited to assist with. Born as a response to a gap in the market for high quality, wide ranging and affordable art materials for schools, colleges and universities, Art in Education supplies hundreds of educational establishments with a range of over 20,000 quality art materials and bespoke items.

What makes Art in Education stand out from the crowd are the competitively priced class packs, including everything for a classroom full of students eager to explore the world of art and creativity- pencils, pastels, watercolours, pens, pencils and brushes - all in a handy storage case.

Green Schools Online Launch New School Mobile App for Parents

Leading school website provider, Green Schools Online, are launching a new standalone version of their popular school mobile app for parents.

The app, which is free for parents to download, keeps parents up to date with key information as well as enabling the school to send unlimited push notifications straight to parents' phones. 

“We've had lots of positive feedback on the App, it is the best way to reach parents and get messages home quickly” said Sharon Sullivan of Milford Junior School in Somerset, “and most importantly, it’s so simple to use.”

EZR aim to provide the most complete storage solutions

EZR Shelving are a leading storage equipment manufacturer, providing high quality products to schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK.

Alongside EZR's core product range of shelving and racking there are a wide variety of products designed specifically for the educational market including: school lockers, cupboards, plastic boxes and even laptop charging units.

A popular choice for the school environment are solid grade laminate door lockers, these are often specified as a cost-effective upgrade to standard lockers that are designed to stand the test of time of everyday school use. Both internal and external locker solutions can be provided in a wide range of colour schemes.

Improve productivity with a Reliable Internet Service

Improve productivity with a Reliable Internet Service


Dedicated fibre ensures there are no drop outs in speed throughout the day. The Venus Fibre Network provides high speed leased line communication to businesses and educational academies throughout London and the UK. Our services start with London’s lowest cost Fibre Internet Leased Line.

Added value services include offsite backup (provided free with selected fibre leased lines), resilient backup services, hosted VOIP, AWS Amazon Direct Connect, private VLANs and Ethernet Private Networks.

Deb supports Skcin’s Sun Safe School scheme with informative and engaging UV Boards

Deb supports Skcin’s Sun Safe School scheme with informative and engaging UV Boards


Deb – a leading innovator and supplier of skin care products – has partnered with Skcin, a national skin cancer charity, to create a colourful and engaging UV board. These are to be placed in primary schools across the UK; where education on sun safety is crucial.

Exposure to the sun is a pertinent issue for schools as 40% of UK school children have arrived home with sunburn; increasing a child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. However, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has revealed that 90% of all skin cancer cases could be prevented if exposure to UV rays were controlled. 

Mesma’s QA resource drives change at training provider TPM

TPM uses Mesma number 2


One of first adopters of an online quality assurance resource has seen the benefits of shifting from time-consuming paper-based SARs to Ofsted-ready information at the press of a button.

TPM (Training Plus Merseyside) Ltd provides training and apprenticeships in business and administration, hairdressing and early years’ teaching and helps more than 200 learners a year achieve nationally recognised qualifications and secure full time employment.

The Liverpool-based firm has seen the benefits of using new developments as part of its approach to learning and training provision, so it was among the first in the independent training sector to adopt new quality assurance technology from online specialists Mesma.