Education News & Resource Round-Up: 4/1/2018

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Great minds: Blaise Cloran, who won Gold in the British Science Association’s Youth Grand Challenges

Digital Schools Awards, research into teacher retention factors, a STEM competition, a literacy challenge and the Shine a Light Awards...

Digital Schools Award

Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow has become the first secondary school in the UK to earn the Digital Schools Award.

The award, open to schools in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland, promotes excellence in digital learning and teaching across the curriculum and aims to equip pupils with digital skills for the modern workplace.

Work by the school includes collaboration with US-based “innovation school” NuVu to run design and technology camps where pupils worked with experts from MIT and Harvard. Kelvinside also has a Thinking Space inspired by Silicon Valley and designed to foster creativity and collaboration. It hosts computers and iPad stations, which pupils can use to work and access resources. Meanwhile, teachers use their iPads and school VLE to create websites, set and mark homework online, and collaborate with students.

Kelvinside is a three to 18 independent school and its junior school became one of the first to win the Digital Schools Award last year. The Digital Schools Award is supported by HP, Microsoft and Intel.

Retention insights

Teachers who leave teaching in a state-funded school have lower pay on average in their new job, but improved job satisfaction.

This is among the latest findings from the on-going Teacher Retention and Turnover Research project being undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and supported by the Nuffield Foundation.

The third research update – entitled Is the Grass Greener Beyond Teaching? – suggests that better salaries are not teachers’ main motivation for quitting. Instead they want to improve their job satisfaction and working hours.

Schools and policy-makers are therefore being urged to focus on improving job satisfaction and tackling workload and long working hours as part of their retention strategies. Among the insights in the research, it recommends that “nurturing, supporting, and valuing teachers is also vital to keep their job satisfaction and engagement high”.

Jack Worth, a senior economist at NFER, said: “This does not necessarily imply that increasing teachers’ pay will have no impact on teacher retention, but policy responses that aim to increase teacher retention need to consider pay alongside other factors, such as teachers’ workload, working hours and job satisfaction.”

The next Research Update is planned later in the new year.

Shine a Light

The sixth annual Shine a Light Awards are seeking to recognise the “incredible contributions” of schools, teachers, teaching teams and young people across England who champion innovative work and excellent practice in supporting speech, language and communication needs.

The awards are run by the Communication Trust and Pearson and offer 11 categories, including many relevant to mainstream and special education. Applications close on Friday, January 12 and the Shine a Light Awards Ceremony will take place on March 22 in London.

100 Million Minutes

Following the success of Achievement for All’s Ten Million Minutes Reading Challenge in March 2017, the initiative is returning from March 1 to 9 with a target of 100 million minutes.

The challenge is open to all schools in England and Wales. Students can log their reading minutes in class and at home during the target week. Prizes will be awarded to those schools who achieve the highest average number of reading minutes per-student and certificates will be available for the individuals who reach key reading targets.

STEM health challenge

The winning ideas in a competition that asked students to use STEM skills to solve some of the world’s biggest health challenges have been unveiled.

The theme of the British Science Association’s Youth Grand Challenges was infectious diseases and the four national winners are:

Gold: Blaise Cloran (pictured), 14, from Our Lady of Sion School in Worthing, who designed a quicker and more cost-effective way of diagnosing hepatitis in developing countries with a test that can be easily transported without refrigeration and that doesn’t need a trained professional to administer.

Silver: Four students from Merseyside created an innovative way to get kids to wash their hands – by putting a game inside a bar of soap.

Bronze: Two students from Worthing created a period kit to tackle the huge school drop-out rate from girls in India due to the poor period sanitation when they hit puberty.

Discovery: Two students from Essex made a hand-washing device that uses rain water for communities without clean water.


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