News

Pupils win space challenge with NASA module design

Generation Beyond

Five UK primary school pupils are reaching for the stars after winning a competition to design a spacecraft for NASA, for the Generation Beyond Challenge.

The young scientists, from London and Surrey, are the winners of this year’s Generation Beyond Challenge - organised by Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education.

The challenge - a UK first - was launched to schools last year as part of a new STEM education programme to inspire the next generation of astronauts. Children were asked to stretch their imagination by designing a habitation module for Orion, the NASA spacecraft which will take the first crew to Mars in the 2030s.

New Compass office opens to guide families through fostering

Compass Fostering

Compass Fostering were delighted to announce the opening of their new Regional Office in Felsted Essex recently. The new office allows Compass Fostering to enhance its local delivery across the East of England. 

As a well-established Independent Fostering Agency, Compass Fostering is a national provider of both Fostering and Residential provision.

Paul Kent is the Head of Fostering for the East at the new Felsted Office. Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role with 28 years’ service working within children’s services for Local Authorities (including 14 years in Norfolk) and seven years working within the private fostering sector in the East of England.

1600s church refurbished for SEN pupils

TCES

East London Independent School in Stratford Marsh, which is part of the TCES Group, has extended its site by redeveloping a church that dates back to 1662. The refurbished church now boasts six new classrooms, as well as a double art room and state-of-the-art classrooms for science, ICT and food technology.

There is also a new school hall, two sensory rooms, and an excellent outside space.

To accommodate it all, the single storey church building has been converted to two storeys, retaining all the existing windows that now cast light both upstairs and downstairs.

The group prides itself on uniquely integrating pupils from 7-19 years with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs and autism spectrum conditions (ASC).

‘Garden school’ by architecture initiative opens in the heart of East London

Olga Primary School

Architecture Initiative’s new school, Olga Primary School, in east London has opened its doors to over 700 primary school pupils. Designed for Tower Hamlets School Ltd and London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Olga Primary School envisions a ‘garden oasis’ in the heart of the capital city.

The school’s vertical design consolidates 25 classrooms around a naturally-lit atrium with the age of pupils increasing as the building rises. The three-storey, glazed atrium creates a circulation core that separates the structure into two distinct volumes: one accommodates the teaching centre; the other contains the administrative and communal spaces, delivering the added benefit of opening the facility to the wider community outside of generic schooling hours.

Scotts of Thrapston - UK Construction Excellence

Scotts of Thrapston - UK Construction Excellence

A learning environment, or the physical, psychological and instructional atmosphere, can critically affect a pupil’s morale and learning, in the same way that a clean, bright, organised space can positively influence the learning experience.

Therefore, pupils should be encouraged to feel comfortable and confident as learners which is why the design of a classroom is so vitally important.

Scotts of Thrapston, specialists in the manufacture and installation of bespoke timber-framed buildings,has a dedicated design manager who studied classroom attainment and the effect of educational environments on children's behaviour. Everything from light levels to atmosphere and the amount of CO2 present comes under the spotlight. 

How music and technology can increase engagement and social communication in SEN school settings

SEN

A pioneering new research article, on SEN subjects, published in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities explores the impact of an intervention combining music and technology on children with a dual diagnosis of autism and intellectual disabilities (ID), and excitingly reports positive outcomes, especially regarding social communication (i.e. behaviour regulation and joint attention). Although there has been much academic research conducted on the benefits of music on children with autism, this is the first study to explore the impact of a technology-mediated music-making intervention on the engagement levels and social communication skills of children with autism and ID at school.

Could a mastery approach help pupils with SEND make progress in Maths?

SEND

by Katie Hiatt

When it comes to teaching maths, ‘mastery’ is the current buzzword, with more and more UK schools choosing to adopt this approach to drive a deeper understanding of maths and SEND subjects for all children. 

Could mastery, which in recent years has become almost synonymous with South-East Asian approaches, help our children with SEND too? 

While the needs of your pupils with SEND may be varied and not all aspects of the mastery approach will be suitable for every child, drawing on elements of mastery teaching could help them make progress in maths and equip them with vital life skills. 

Here are five things you could try if you think they may benefit your pupils:

1. Use a CPA approach