Innovate My School

Innovate My School

Innovate My School empowers educators to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead proactively and, most importantly, feel inspired. It now entertains an audience of 50,000 educators through its weekly content, with 1,300 guest bloggers and over 2,500 articles published to date.

‘School streets’ schemes have increased five-fold in less than four years and deliver low-cost interventions for cleaner, safer journeys to schools world-wide, according to new global analysis by the Child Health Initiative’s Global Advocacy Hub.

The report is published to coincide with the United Nations High Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda, a policy prescription for cities agreed in 2016 which includes a commitment to deliver ‘safe and healthy journeys to school for every child’.

‘School streets: putting children and the planet first’ is a first-of-its-kind analysis to take a global overview of the 1,250 school street improvements in at least 15 countries which restrict vehicle movement to protect the journey to and from school. School streets are timed, or sometimes permanent, car-free areas outside schools to create space for pupils to walk, cycle, socialise and play safely. Currently the schemes are mainly focused in Europe, with over half in the UK, and increasing numbers in North America. The schemes expanded rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic as low-cost and quickly implementable ways to provide new spaces for social distancing.

While most school streets begin as temporary pilots, a large number have been made permanent school term interventions in response to parent popularity, increased active travel and improved air quality. Previous research funded by the FIA Foundation showed that in London school streets saw up to a 23% reduction in emissions around participating schools. Other reported benefits include increased social connections, tranquility, road safety and physical activity levels.

The report takes a political economy approach to understand why school streets are successful, including bold political leadership and broad local stakeholder collaboration. Currently, school streets are mostly focused in high-income countries where road safety measures already exist, but the report makes the case for expansion to other contexts. Tirana in Albania is an example of how school streets can be implemented in low- and middle-income countries, in a project supported by the Global Designing Cities Initiative’s Streets for Kids programme. The report includes practical considerations for other authorities considering school streets as well as compiling resources available from around the world.

School streets, the report concludes, should be a key policy consideration for urban decisionmakers for the benefit of children and planet, as part of a range of steps to measure and address road safety and air quality, including 30km/h zones to deliver ‘streets for life.’

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation which hosts the Child Health Initiative said: “Every parent knows the importance of safe and healthy journeys to school. Creating safe, clean environments on the journey to school is the least we should do for our children. It is encouraging that the ‘school streets’ model has taken off in many countries. We urge policymakers to expand these schemes which improve road safety, reduce vehicle emissions, and tackle the climate emergency. As the UN meets for the High Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda, we remind governments and mayors that they have signed up to ensure safe and healthy journeys for every child. This is a practical way to deliver.”

Ukrainian children arriving in the UK are to benefit from the creation of Ukraine School, a free online educational platform to help Ukrainian pupils overcome language barriers and continue their learning whilst settling into schools in the UK.

Ukraine School has been created by tech entrepreneur Brendan Morrissey and his team at eSchools, which provides online teaching and communications solutions to teachers and pupils across 1,100 UK schools.

The free virtual Ukraine School allows teachers to set homework, run class projects, messaging, blogs and calendar and give feedback in English, which is then translated into Ukrainian for children. Once work is completed, it is translated back into English.

Ukraine School is looking to bridge the gap between younger children with little or no English and their new teachers and classmates, an invaluable service for the now over 1000 Ukrainian refugees currently in the UK.

Having developed educational apps, Brendan Morrissey decided to re-formulate some of his previous work to form Ukraine School after war broke out in Ukraine. With 50 languages already available on the platform it is hoped that once the technology is established in the UK, it will be distributed to other countries where Ukrainian refugees are settling. Hundreds of schools in Ireland have already signed up to the platform. 

The next step for Ukraine School is to acquire hardware to allow the platform to be accessed outside the classroom. With many refugees expected to not have immediate access to computers or laptops, the organisation is now looking for corporate partners that can donate hardware allowing children to access the website both at home and in school. 

Teachers and schools can access Ukraine School by emailing hello@ukraineschool.com where the team will send out passwords to add students. There’s also a free app for parents linked to the eSchools app that allows them to view homework and connect with the school. 

Brendan Morrissey, Founder, Ukraine School, commented:  

“The idea behind the platform is that Ukrainian children will be able to continue their education with minimal interruption, in spite of everything else they might be dealing with at the moment. The platform will allow teachers to set homework, run class projects and give feedback, which is then translated into Ukrainian and vice versa when the child completes their schoolwork. It also allows children to connect with new friends and teachers in a safe environment. Our motto at eSchools is that no child is left behind so we had to develop this to assist them.”

“Our hope is that by using the platform, schools in England and local authorities can support refugees in a meaningful way, without incurring further costs on already stretched school budgets.”

“The next step is for other tech companies to get involved, the likes of Google, Microsoft, or Samsung. We’d really like to see these companies support what we’re doing by providing hardware to local schools with our platform pre-loaded. This would allow children to continue learning and working in their new homes in the UK.”  

 

The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced the launch of “NBA in the Classroom,” an NBA-themed educational programme that provides free, downloadable teaching materials for secondary school teachers in the UK that focuses on career development, financial management, mental wellbeing and physical education.

NBA in the Classroom, which was developed with input from teachers and is available to all secondary schools across the UK beginning today, offers a range of downloadable, flexible, curriculum-linked teaching resources for use in PE, PSHE/Health and Wellbeing, careers and/or personal development courses.  Students will hear from current NBA players and employees on a variety of topics through video content containing tips, challenges and more.

“We are excited to unveil this original programme to help secondary school teachers in the UK educate and inspire students with interactive resources that can be used in a variety of settings,” said NBA Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations, Europe and Middle East, Neal Meyer. “Through ‘NBA in the Classroom,’ we look forward to collaborating with institutions and educators across the UK to help children develop their personal and professional skills and grow as leaders.” 

Through a range of NBA-inspired challenges, the programme will help students be more active, harness a positive mental attitude, develop financial confidence and nurture skills that employers value, including creativity, numeracy, communication, teamwork and organisation.  Resources can be downloaded and used as standalone lessons or personal development sessions and select resources can be combined into full off-timetable enrichment and personal development days or after-school club sessions.

Mr Leighton, PE teacher at Kettlethorpe High School, commented on the new resources saying: “At Kettlethorpe, it's our priority to bring new experiences to our students and engage them in creative ways. NBA in the Classroom fits the bill for this perfectly. Our students were intrigued to discover that there’s so much beyond just the game, from mental attitude to wide-ranging careers such as sports journalism, social media and physiotherapy. The programme is diverse and easy to add into lesson planning"

NBA in the Classroom builds on the league’s on-court youth development initiatives in the UK.  In partnership with Basketball England, the NBA currently runs 21 Jr. NBA Leagues that reach 630 secondary schools and nearly 10,000 Year 7 and 8 children each year. In addition, the Jr. NBA basketballscotland League features seven leagues and a Jr. NBA Wheelchair Basketball League, while the Jr. NBA Basketball Wales League is currently running in each of Wales’s 22 local authorities.

Register to NBA in the Classroom for free today and receive a free digital poster and get access to a range of engaging, curriculum-linked resources that will equip your students with the tools they need for a brighter future.

For more NBA information, fans in the UK can visit NBA.com/UK, the league’s official online destination in the UK, and follow the NBA on Facebook (NBA), Twitter (@NBAUK) and Instagram (@NBAEurope).

Young people’s perceptions of engineering are strongly associated with their parents’ opinion of engineering, according to EngineeringUK’s latest Engineering Brand Monitor. For the first time, the Engineering Brand Monitor (EBM) has linked the responses from over 4,000 young people and their parents. It highlights:

  • Young people whose parents said they know what engineers do were more than twice as likely to express an interest in an engineering career than those whose parents said they did not
  • 78% of young people whose parents said they regularly do STEM activities with their child said they were interested in a career in engineering
  • Nearly 9 in 10 young people whose parents said they were confident giving their child advice about careers in engineering said they were interested in a career in engineering.

It also suggests knowledge of what an engineer does and how you become an engineer as well as perceptions and interest in the profession, varies by not only by gender, but also socio-economic background, ethnicity and region. The report found:

  • Only 48% of girls say they know what engineers do, compared to 61% of boys
  • Young people from lower income families are less likely to be interested in engineering, with only 43% of young people from a lower income and level of education family reporting interest compared to 65% of young people from a higher income and level of education family.
  • Where you live can influence your knowledge of engineering pathways. Teenagers in London are twice as likely to know what subjects or qualifications they need to become an engineer than young people in the West Midlands (60% compared to 30%)

The engineering sector currently draws its skills from a very narrow section of society: only 16.5% of the engineering workforce are women compared to 47.7% of the entire national workforce and 11.4% are from minority ethnic backgrounds compared to 13.4% of the overall workforce.

Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, said: “As the world emerges from the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for engineering talent is intensifying. Ambitions to ‘level up’ the country and make the UK a science superpower and an innovation nation will be hugely dependent on our engineering and tech workforce, as will achieving net zero by 2050.

“Our research continues to highlight the need for more to be done to ensure engineering is, and is seen as, an inclusive career for all.

“Showing parents and young people first-hand the breadth of exciting engineering careers available will be paramount if we want to encourage more young people from all backgrounds to join the engineering workforce to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

The report findings show there is a strong association between engagement in STEM activities and an interest in a future career in engineering, but access to such activities varies between schools, with those with higher numbers of pupils eligible for free school meals less likely to run STEM activities. In particular, 1 in 5 young people had not taken part in any careers activities in the past 12 months.

Evidence shows that young people who know more about what engineers do are more likely to perceive the profession in a positive way and to consider a career in engineering. It also shows that STEM outreach and education activities are critical in this context. Students who had attended any (one or more) STEM careers activity were 3.5 times more likely to know about what people working in engineering did than those who hadn’t attended any. They were also 3.4 times more likely than those who hadn’t attended a STEM careers activity to consider a career in engineering.

Other factors highlighted in the EBM include:

  • Just 56% of parents agreed they know about the different types of things engineers could do in their jobs
  • More than half of young people say they know about the things engineers do, and that they are interested in pursuing a career in engineering - but only two-fifths know how to get into engineering
  • More boys than girls see engineering as a good ‘fit’ for them, with the research finding that two-thirds of girls felt that girls face more barriers to getting ahead in engineering than boys
  • Similarly, more barriers were perceived for those from ethnic minority backgrounds and socially disadvantaged groups than their counterparts

The Engineering Brand Monitor is an annual survey of the knowledge, perceptions and understanding of engineering of young people, their parents, and teachers. For the first time responses from parents and young people aged 7 to 19 were linked together and the association between them examined. The survey was completed by 4,317 child-parent pairs between April and May 2021.

A separate report on the responses of teachers can be found on the EngineeringUK website

The Financial Times’ Climate Game puts you in control of the future of the planet. It asks players to save the world from the worst effects of climate change through an innovative, gamified format. The game is available to everyone - subscribers and non-subscribers.

New research undertaken by the Department for Education’s Teaching Vacancies service shows one in five teachers have highlighted interviews as one of the hardest parts of their early career development.

In response, Teaching Vacancies is teaming up with a number of leading lights in the education sector including Haili Hughes, Andy Taylor (of Mr T’s NQT/ECT support Twitter account) and Emily Weston, to provide tips and advice for early career teachers and job hunting teachers to ace their interviews.

For those entering the profession and at every stage of their career, Teaching Vacancies takes the hassle out of searching through lots of job boards by consolidating teacher recruitment into one easy-to-use service. The free service puts schools in control of their own recruitment. The more schools and teachers that use the service, the more money schools across the country will save meaning they can spend it where it counts most – in the classroom.

Advice and guidance on interviews from the campaign advocates for job-hunting teachers includes:

  1. Do your homework: research the school to make sure it’s a place you want to work, and so you can demonstrate you have the skills needed during interview.
  2. The panel is on your side: remember the interviewers want you to do well, they’ve been impressed with your application and now want to find out a bit more.
  3. Be authentic: Don’t pretend to be something you are not. You can only ever be yourself and the right employer will see that, and you will get the job based on who you are.
  4. Practice makes perfect: spend time with a family member or friend going through expected questions and building your bank of examples which highlight your skills.
  5. Be friendly: Get to know as many staff members, teaching and otherwise, on your interview day. It will help you give a real for the school and, if you get the job, will make your first day a little less intimidating.

Haili Hughes is Head of Education at IRIS Connect and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland - and until last year she’d been an English teacher for 15 years. She shared her top interview tips as part of the campaign recommends all teachers do thorough research on their prospective school ahead of interviews. She says, “There is a plethora of information on the internet about every school which can help you build a picture of its aims, atmosphere and how you could fit into the picture. Take a look at the school’s website, they’ll often link to their Ofsted report and you can see what their priorities are. You can then you match their priorities with your skills at interview.”

Andy Taylor is a Senior Lecturer of Primary Education at the University of Worcester with 16 years’ experience as a class teacher under his belt. He is also the face of popular teaching mentor Twitter account ‘Mr T's NQT/ECT support’, where he shares what he has learnt over the years to support students, NQTs and ECTs as they navigate their early career. His top tip to calm interviews nerves is to remember the panel want you to do well. Andy says, “Having been on both sides of the interviewing table I can honestly say that the panel are willing you to do well. If you feel your mind go blank or you need to take some time to consider a response, let them know that. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask them to repeat the question or give you a moment to pause and think. They want to see you at your best!”

Michelle, an Interventions Lead Teacher from West Yorkshire, moved to her current school last academic year, having seen the job advertised on the Teaching Vacancies website. Her advice to job-hunting teachers is, “When applying for jobs – and at interview - sell yourself and back it up with class based evidence. Come to interviews prepared with a bank of examples to draw on to show how amazing you are. Using a service like Teaching Vacancies to search for roles means you don’t miss out on opportunities as you can set up job alerts  for roles you might be interested that go  in straight to your inbox.”

Teaching Vacancies is already in active use in most schools in England, advertising over 30,994 vacancies this year, with over 80% of schools signed up and using the service.

Job hunting teachers can find their next job on Teaching Vacancies, join thousands of other teachers and start your job search here: teaching-vacancies.service.gov.uk 

There’s no secret that the education sector has been facing overwhelming pressure and that the mental health and wellbeing of teaching staff and other educators has been stretched. News from the education world is often shrouded in negativity, and with the additional upheaval seen over the last two years, it can feel as if the negatives outweigh the positives. Around 9 in 10 teachers now say work-related stress has had a detrimental impact on their mental health, particularly over the course of the pandemic -  it can feel all too easy to become trapped in a cycle of despondency and pressure. 

For the first time in 15 years, the European Brass Band Festival is coming to England, and bringing with it a plethora of opportunities for young performers and listeners.

A petition created by deaf young people to improve deaf awareness and classroom support has attracted over 40,000 signatures in a week.

Slime - the gooey and beloved children's plaything - will be used by astronauts to help clean the International Space Station thanks to an experiment designed by two teenage classmates who have never met in person.

To get children across the country thinking about ‘everyday maths’, leading edtech provider Renaissance Learning launched an exciting drawing competition for primary schools, on World Maths Day.

Schools are being encouraged to become Care Home Friends in a new scheme to bring together children and older people living in care homes.

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