Politicians urged to involve children in developing mental health system

Politicians urged to involve children in developing mental health system

Politicians must include young people in decision making to try and solve the children’s mental health crisis, says Barnardo’s.

This is the message from young people supported by the charity who have had their say in a series of videos released during Children’s Mental Health Week (February 5 to 11).

The importance of early intervention is a key thread in the films, along with the call for governments to ensure teachers are adequately trained to recognise the signs a child may be having mental health issues.

The videos are timed with a survey for the UK’s largest children’s charity, which reveals half of all 12 to 16-year-olds in England feel sad or anxious at least once a week.

Active kids do better:

Active kids do better

Olympic medallist launches programme to get kids active.

Sprinter Daryll Neita unveils campaign to increase kids’ activity before, during and after school

A nationwide drive to inspire primary school children to be more active was unveiled by an Olympic medallist at a school in London today.

Sprinter Daryll Neita visited Beatrix Potter Primary School in Wandsworth to launch Active Kids Do Better – a Nike and Discovery Education programme, developed with support from Liverpool John Moores University, to help teachers increase movement and play throughout the school day.

Guide Dogs supporting children and young people

Guide Dogs supporting children and young people
As well as Family Days Out, Guide Dogs provides a range of services designed to support children, young people and their families.
Movement matters habilitation service

Guide Dogs’ movement matters service gives support to blind children and young people in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Movement matters provides personalised training and support in mobility, orientation and independence skills, delivered by a qualified habilitation specialist.

Family support

One of the most invaluable services that Guide Dogs provide to many parents and carers of a child with vision impairment is ongoing practical and emotional support.

College pledges support for mental health campaign

Mental health

A North East college has become the first FE provider in the region to back a campaign that encourages people to speak out about mental health issues.

Time to Change is a national initiative launched by two charities, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, to encourage debate and tackle stigmas surrounding mental health.

Now Gateshead College has become the latest organisation to lend its support to the campaign, which is being backed by more than 550 organisations across the UK.

Worry no longer about children’s well-being

Worry no longer about children’s well-being

Recent studies and statistics show us children’s mental well-being needs to be given careful consideration and attention; charities with high profile backing are bringing the subject to the mainstream media.  However, despite this issue in a technically driven world, no new solutions have been available to support children, until now.

Having spent the last 20 years in the education system, I was excited and nervous when I was asked to leave my teaching career to work on an app project designed for children.  I was worried as I didn’t know anything else outside teaching, but also excited to be able to work on a project where my knowledge and experience across a range of teaching ages would greatly benefit.

Science goes 3D with high-tech physics book 

physics book

A physics book which offers students 28 ideas for experiments with 3D simulations to complement the practicals is set to shake up science this year. 

While physics is a vital academic backbone to hundreds of different careers, the author feels that a huge disparity exists between students needing to intimately understand the practicalities and results of dozens of experiments, while having very limited access to actual laboratories. It’s something that has been on Dr. Robert J. Lucas’ mind for over a decade, inspiring him to create Advanced Physics Practicals: with 3D Simulations.

Collaborate to innovate: opening up tech to students with SEN

Collaborate to innovate: opening up tech to students with SEN

In the time since education technology was first introduced into schools much has changed in the way we view it. Whereas once the attention was on devices - the number of laptops or availability of smart-boards in the classroom - today, priorities have shifted. Teachers are now looking to education technology to enhance teaching and learning, or to change pedagogy - and are seeing its potential particularly in helping students with Special Educational Needs.

Using natural rhythms to counter the UK’s classroom culture


Rhythms to counter the UK’s classroom culture, Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman has criticised schools that operate as exam factories and obsess about league tables at the expense of the “substance of education.”

Spielman has been outspoken about teachers who prepare pupils to “jump through a series of accountability hoops.” She concedes testing is valuable, but adds: "The regular taking of test papers does little to increase a child's ability to comprehend. A much better use of time is to teach and help children to read and read more."

Championing a teaching style that enriches the life of each pupil should be the goal of educators. But what practical techniques can be used to implement such a philosophy?

Sparkol Launches StoryPix

Sparkol Launches StoryPix

New product enables users to create short explainer videos from a photo in minutes. Sparkol, creator of leading whiteboard explainer video software VideoScribe, today launched StoryPix, the latest addition to its growing product suite of video software.

StoryPix enables users to create short narrated videos quickly and easily. After taking a photo or uploading an image, users can add text and voice description as the software zooms into elements of the photo, easily saving and sharing the final product with as many people as they like.

The quick-to-create, easily shareable nature of StoryPix videos provides a myriad uses including:

Special Olympics & Play Unified Help 30,000 Young People Fight Intolerance in First Two Years

Special Olympics & Play Unified Help 30,000 Young People Fight Intolerance in First Two Years

Play Unified, a Special Olympics GB campaign delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, is celebrating a second successful year fighting intolerance in schools across the UK - reaching almost 30,000 young people nationwide, enough to fill a football stadium!

The campaign aims to change perceptions of and end intolerance towards young people with intellectual disabilities (ID), such as the fact 8 in 10 experience bullying.  It aims to strengthen leadership and sport participation pathways for young people with intellectual disabilities and develop inclusive environments in schools through sport.

Catering Beyond the Classroom


Principals and Prue Leith take school catering ‘Beyond the Classroom’

Prue Leith CBE joined forces with Principals, one of the UK’s longest established school caterers and part of CH&Co Group, to offer school leaders new perspectives on the future of school catering and their role in ensuring children and families understand food and nutrition and enjoy healthy and sustainable eating at school and at home.

Charity places 10,000 governors in schools

school governor Alastair Cowen

With schools struggling to attract volunteers to join their governing board, one charity has recruited 10,000 governors – many of whom are professionals with links to global businesses.

And one finance manager has spoken of his pride at helping to turn around a school which teaches children with medical and special needs.

The national education charity Governors for Schools (formerly School Governors’ One Stop Shop) recruits skilled and committed people to be highly effective governors and trustees of schools all over England. It aims to raise public awareness of governor opportunities for the benefit of schools and businesses. 

Person Centred Care Is The Key To Fulfilling Lives

Person Centred Care

Care Management Group’s Chief Executive, Peter Kinsey, spent some hands-on time over the holiday period at one of the organisations care services – highlighting what really is at the centre of high-quality care provision.

CMG supports individuals with particularly complex needs, including those with autistic spectrum conditions, mental health needs, and profound and multiple learning difficulties, across over 120 services. Through its commitment to ensuring that service users are given the opportunity to lead the most fulfilling and enriched lives as possible – tailoring care provision has been key.

Boost to special needs and disability funding has been welcomed

disability funding apprentice working

A multi-million pound boost to special needs and disability funding has been welcomed by two leading charities.

The Minister for Children and Families Robert Goodwill said the additional £45million funding for councils and organisations would help to continue transforming SEND provision.

The reforms, which began in 2014, introduced Education, Health and Care plans which are tailored to the individual needs of the child or young person.

£9.7million of the special needs and disability funding will go towards supported internships

Included in the funding is a £9.7million fund set up to create supported internships, helping some of the most vulnerable young people bride the gap between education and employment. 

Teacher training recruitment levels drop by a third with 'low pay to blame'

teacher training with children

Low pay, confusing training routes and poor staff morale have been blamed for a fall in teacher training applications.

Figures from UCAS recently showed that teacher recruitment numbers have dropped by a third. In December 2017, 12,820 people had applied to begin ITT – down from 19,330 the year before. 

The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said, “It’s alarming, I think, particularly as we know there are going to be another half a million children coming through the system over the next nine years.

East Anglian coding competition set to reduce skills gap and drive social mobility

East Anglian coding competition set to reduce skills gap and drive social mobility

FXP Festival, a STEM initiative based on a computer and mobile game design and development competition, is now open to entries from secondary schools and colleges across East Anglia. The initiative, which is linked to the computer science curriculum, uses computer games to increase interest and uptake of STEM subjects, build young people’s digital skills and provide an insight into what careers in the technology, creative digital and related industries might offer. 

The power of colour in early development

The power of colour in early development

Young children are excited by bright colour — it grabs their attention and ignites curiosity. A baby is born with monochrome vision and is unable to distinguish the difference between colours, it is not until around 8 months when their colour vision is fully developed. By 3-4 years, a child can begin to recognise and name basic colours as frequent exposure can help strengthen this skill.

As well as being visually appealing to a child, what other benefits does colour have in early development? Infinite Playgrounds, educational play area designers, has provided us with more of an insight.

The advantages of colour

It depends on how old a child is as to what benefits they can gain from colour exposure.

Link between child mental health problems and unemployment

child mental health

Experts say that mental health problems in childhood and young adulthood can influence workforce participation in later life.

Two reports have highlighted the link between behaviour, depression and trauma in children as young as seven, and unemployment by the age of 55.

The reports highlight the fact that flexible working, which could help to alleviate some of the issues faced by those suffering from mental health problems, is far from common practice and for some workers it is impractical.

Both reports, published by the International Longevity Centre, found physical and mental illness at younger ages can have a significant impact on employment trajectories in later life.

Teacher manifesto on how to avoid burnout

editors of teaching manifesto

Amid a climate of low staff morale and a decrease in training applications, a new teacher manifesto is asking the question, “How did we let teacher burn-out happen, and what can we do about it – before it’s too late?”

Flip The System UK: A Teachers’ Manifesto, edited by Lucy Rycroft-Smith and Jean-Louis Dutaut, challenges current practice and urges educators to pull together to tackle the problems of low staff morale. It offers systemic, future-proof and realistic solutions to bringing hope, energy and joy back to the profession.