Comedian Adam Hess puts children's communication development in the spotlight at National Awards

Shine a Light awards

The winners of the 2018 Shine a Light Awards, a national awards scheme that celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development, have been revealed today (22nd March 2018) by learning company Pearson, in partnership with The Communication Trust.

The awards, which took place at Pearson’s headquarters in London, were hosted by stand-up comedian, actor and TV writer, Adam Hess, who struggled with dyslexia and an immense fear of public speaking when he was younger. 

17 individuals and teams across 10 award categories were recognised, as well as children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). Winners included:

Jonathan Bryan from Chippenham – Young Person of the Year 

Special schools win gardening prizes in Healthy Packed Lunch plot competition

Healthy Packed Lunch entries

Two special schools have won £200 each towards plants and gardening equipment after entering a competition to design a garden capable of growing food for the healthiest packed lunch in Essex. The Healthy Packed Lunch Plot Competition was open to all primary and special schools in Essex. It encouraged pupils to design a kitchen garden plot and create a recipe for a healthy packed lunch using its produce.

Youngsters gain employment opportunities on Toyota's Working Assets Programme

Working Assets Programme trainees with Toyota staff including Mandy

Mandy-Jayne Evans, Senior Specialist in Training & Development, runs Toyota’s Working Assets Programme. Here, she tells Education for Everybody about how the car giant is helping disadvantaged youngsters to succeed by giving them employment experience and training during its six-month course.

How long has Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) been helping disadvantaged youngsters in the UK?

TMUK have been supporting disadvantaged young people via the Foyer Federation and The YMCA for the past five years.

How does the "Working Assets Programme” run?

MPs urged to ‘walk in the shoes’ of people with learning disabilities

Walk in our Shoes

A charity is calling on the public to use social media to urge the Prime Minister to take a walk in our shoes, people with learning disabilities.

Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, is using a crowd-sharing platform to launch a campaign facilitating opportunities for people with learning disabilities to share their concerns and help shape future policy decisions.

Walk in our Shoes was launched with a Thunderclap appeal urging Theresa May to encourage MPs to spend time with people with a learning disability. It will see tweets sent flash-mob style simultaneously from hundreds of accounts.

A holistic approach to energy efficiency in SEND schools

Energy efficiency Jack Saunders, Client Support Officer at Salix Finance School

Throughout the education industry there is a growing awareness of the benefits of implementing a well-rounded, long term energy efficiency plan. Here, Jack Saunders, Client Support Officer at Salix Finance School and Academies Programme, tells Education for Everybody the factors behind successful energy initiatives and explores how SEND schools can benefit from a holistic approach to energy efficiency...

At a time when the education sector is facing rising costs, schools and colleges are increasingly looking to identify effective strategies to make savings. Reducing energy consumption is a key way to minimise monetary spend, environmental impact and improve the learning environment. 

Smarthouse showcasing personalised technology solutions launches at Liverpool school

Smarthouse showcasing personalised technology solutions launches at Liverpool school

An innovative house showcasing a range of assistive technology to support independent living has been launched at a school in Liverpool. The project is the result of a unique partnership between St Vincent’s School, NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Hft, a national charity supporting people with learning disabilities across the UK to live the best life possible. The smarthouse is a self-contained flat which showcases a variety of personalised assistive technology and how it can be used to support people with visual impairments and other disabilities to live more independently. 

World Autism Awareness Week: Early signs of autism and tips for coping

Early Signs Of Autism Dr Paschos

On World Autism Awareness week, we speak to Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Dimitrios Paschos on the importance of early diagnosis and how to spot the signs of autism in babies and toddlers.

Autism affects more than 1 in 100 people in the UK, according to the National Autistic Society, with an estimated 700,000 people in the UK on the autism spectrum. Statistically, autism is more prevalent in males than females, with a ratio of 5:1 living with the condition in the UK.

It’s a lifelong condition, with no cure however many people develop coping mechanisms to mask and manage the symptoms. Many children with autism grow up to live independent lives, whilst others live with support from family and social services.

Autism experts TCES Group share an insight into designing SEND schools

TCES Group Thomas Keaney

East London Independent School is extending its site in Stratford Marsh, London, by redeveloping what was once an old church. The school is operated by TCES Group. Here, CEO Thomas Keaney shares with Education For Everybody how it was designed with autism in mind…

Why did TCES Group decide to convert an old church into a school building? 

World Autism Awareness Week: SEND teacher training route focuses on autism

World Autism Awareness Week teaching

During World Autism Awareness Week, Education For Everybody looks at a teacher training route which has been designed specifically for student teachers who want to work in SEND schools, and features on a core unit on autism. 

We spoke to Dr Lyn Trodd, Dean of the School of Education at the University of Hertfordshire, about the BA (Hons) in Education Studies with Special Educational Needs and Disability, which is now in its third year.

World Down Syndrome Day - raising awareness through videos and socks!

World Down Syndrome Day Sally Phillips

World Down Syndrome Day is taking place today, with a wealth of events across the globe raising awareness – including "carpool karaoke" and an inclusive film competition.

You may have already seen a video of a "carpool karaoke" lip sync video in support of World Down Syndrome Day, which features 50 mums and their children singing along to Christina Perri track, A Thousand Years. The parents in the video (watch below) are all part of a Facebook group called Designer Genes, which was created for parents who have a child with Down’s Syndrome born in 2013 and 2014.

Internationally Successful Autism Programme Launches in the UK

Internationally Successful Autism Programme Launches in the UK

Evidence-Based programme set to improve social skills, behaviour, language and symptoms in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The internationally successful USA early autism intervention programme, Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), launches at award-winning brain and mind clinic Re:Cognition Health. Hailed as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs in 2012, ESDM is a play-based therapy that has rapidly been adopted in the USA, Canada, Australia and France as an effective method for treating toddlers with autism.  Several published studies have shown evidence of improvements in cognitive skills and IQ, language and social behaviour of young children with autism who have received early treatment with the ESDM programme.

VR will revolutionise the classroom, Lenovo research finds

VR will revolutionise the classroom, Lenovo research finds

Over half of teachers feel grades will go up by delivering new experiences such as climbing Everest through VR

84 per cent think that technology will be prominent in their students’ future  

Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) has released new data that shows almost all teachers (94 per cent) in the UK think that Virtual Reality (VR) would benefit the classroom, with nearly half (42 per cent) estimating it will be commonplace in the next five years. The research, in partnership with TV personality Helen Skelton, shows that teachers also propose that technologies such as VR will be crucial in creating the workforce of tomorrow, with 84 per cent predicting future jobs will be heavily influenced by tech. 

No Isolation - Helping Children With Illness Stay Connected

No Isolation

No Isolation - Helping Children With Long-Term Illness Stay Connected With Their Peers When Physically Absent From The Classroom And Playground

No Isolation ( is an Oslo-based start-up founded to reduce involuntary social solitude. Its first product, a physical avatar named AV1, allows British children and young adults who are forced by illness to take extended time away from school, to maintain a presence in the classroom, communicate with friends, and socialise. This minimises loneliness, and reduces the short and long-term educational and developmental impacts of absence. Currently, more than 400 AV1 telepresence robots are in use across Europe.

School app helps SEND school improve parental engagement

The Piota school app is used at Kingsdown, which boasts a swimming pool

Parental engagement without disruption: how one school app has helped an SEND setting to connect with families...

Parental engagement can be difficult for most schools, but when children arrive and leave in buses and taxis, speaking to parents is even harder. The Kingsdown School, part of the SEN Trust Southend Multi Academy Trust, supports 120 students up to 14 years of age with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD); 95% have a cognitive ability below pre-reception age.

BBC’s new Education Strategy to encourage social mobility in the UK

BBC’s Education Strategy

James Purnell, Director, BBC Radio and Education has announced BBC’s Education Strategy his intention to focus the BBC’s education mission around improving social mobility across the UK.

Launching the new approach today James Purnell said, “Education has always been part of the BBC’s DNA and we want to renew our commitment to it in this new charter period. We want to work with partners to have a positive impact on people’s lives, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

The BBC has consulted extensively with stakeholders in education and business to identify key areas where its content, reach, educational expertise and trusted relationship with audiences could help reduce inequality and do more to support learning for people of all ages.

Life-changing Stories fund-raiser to help children with additional needs

Life-changing Stories boy with headphones

As youngsters across the country celebrate World Book Day, we take a look at crowdfunding campaign Life-changing Stories which has been launched to bring books and stories to life for children with additional needs.

Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books will raise money for the campaign on Crowdfunder UK. The museum and gallery, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, is seeking support in its Life-changing Stories campaign to raise £7,000 to fund a range of fully accessible events and experiences that will allow children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to step into their favourite stories in an inclusive and sensory environment.

Opportunity To Experience Modern Industry Brings Careers To The Classroom

Opportunity To Experience Modern Industry Brings Careers To The Classroom


Lauren Brown – Project Manager, Developing the Young Workforce West Lothian Regional Group

Some of the biggest influencers in a young person’s life, outside a parent or carer, are their teaching and support staff.  A teacher’s guidance is hugely significant, especially in latter school years when career decisions and future choices become increasingly important.

The Holmewood School won ‘Wellbeing initiative of the year’

The Holmewood School won ‘Wellbeing initiative of the year’ at the prestigious Tes Independent School Awards 2018

When The Holmewood School identified a need to actively improve the mental health of its students, it launched a three-year plan, made up of three initiatives that were closely aligned to the needs of its community whilst supporting its mission to ‘Think Differently’.

The North London school in Woodside Park is for 7-19 year olds with autism, and a survey it carried out showed that 87 percent of its pupils felt they would do more schoolwork outside in the fresh air. The forest school was born.