Confronting nature and outdoor development

outdoors playing

Parents, teachers and children have all changed their attitudes towards  the outdoors. During the 1970s to the late 1990s, to be sent to the bedroom for a child would be considered a punishment as they wouldn’t be able to play outside; now, the bedroom is no longer considered a punishment. 

Now, their bedrooms are home to alternative realities, brought about by digital platforms such as social media, games consoles and smart devices. They are distracted from the world outside their window. 

Outdoor playground equipment designers Infinite Playgrounds explores how modern technology is limiting children’s outdoors experience and development. 

Children at home

Get a dog for a stress-free life filled with happier tales!

dog stress relief

Over 85 per cent of pet owners in the West Midlands believe having a dog can help to bring stress levels down.

In fact, research, conducted by leading manufacturer of premium pet supplements Lintbells, has found that on average dog owners in the West Midlands are happier in life and experience less stress because of their pet.

With almost a quarter of households in the UK now owning a dog the study found that dog owners are happier, more satisfied at work and more sociable than people without a pooch. In fact over 80 per cent of people in the West Midlands now consider their dog to be an integral part of their family.

Musical Sensory Garden

Musical Sensory Garden

Percussion Play Reveals the Secrets to Building the Perfect Musical Sensory Garden


UK-based outdoor musical instrument manufacturer Percussion Play details how to build inclusive spaces that allow everyone to experience music and nature, with a specialist guide to building a musical sensory garden.

Percussion Play has built musical instruments for parks, playgrounds and schools all around the world – and now, they’re sharing their specialist knowledge on sensory gardens.

In the free guide, the UK’s leading outdoor musical instrument manufacturer showcases their tips on planning, planting and percussion so that everyone can enjoy music, sound and the great outdoors.

Businesses play vital role in introducing young people to the working world

businesses lauren

Young people are our future and businesses play a vital role in providing them with an insight into the working world. 

Lauren Brown (pictured) discusses a synergised approach to ensure businesses are engaged in helping school leavers to have unrestricted access to the workplace. Recently, I attended an internship presentation morning with a local technology employer and heard all about the experiences of two young school pupils who, as ‘interns’, were just coming to the end of their 4-week spell in the workplace. According to them, the experience was not only eye-opening, it was life changing!

Unique, Touching Video

Yair and teacher

Unique, Touching Video Brings Testimonials of Parents of Teens with Special Needs (Including Autism) Using iPad to Communicate with Their Surroundings

Tel Aviv, Israel, July 27, 2017. Israel’s Athena Fund, a nonprofit organization empowering teachers, has produced a unique video to raise awareness of the incredible ability of teens with special needs (including autism) to communicate with their families and friends with the help of an iPad. 

College shortlisted for national diversity award


An innovative North East college has been recognised for its outstanding work in encouraging diversity and equality in its organisation and the local community.

Gateshead College has been shortlisted for the Diverse Company Award in this year’s National Diversity Awards, which take place on September 8 at the stunning Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.  

Charities and role models from across the UK will gather at the event – dubbed the UK’s largest celebration of diversity – to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have demonstrated their devotion to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in society. 

Applications open to create 1,600 new SEND free school places

Applications open to create 1,600 new SEND free school places

More than 1600 SEND (special educational needs and disability) school places will be created across England as the government opens applications to run new free schools. 

Nineteen local authorities will be accepting applications to run the SEND schools as part of the government's ambitious free schools programme, which aims to provide high-quality provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities. 

Autism with Attitude street dance group make history as first SEN students to qualify for dance world championships!

Jonathan Baron

Street dance group ‘Autism with Attitude’ have made history as the first special needs dance team to qualify for the United Dance Organisations (UDO) World Championships in Glasgow.


Members of the group have developed their skills since attending Hillingdon Manor School, in Uxbridge. Teacher Jonathan Baron said: “The SEN dance world is currently very small and in fact they were the first dance team with special needs to take part in the event.”


Hillingdon Manor is an Outcomes First Group centre of excellence in education and development, for children aged five to 19 years with an autistic spectrum condition (ASC).

Could further school funds improve learning and behaviour?

St Mildreds school

A study into the state of the nation’s schools has revealed that 85% of teachers think the school environment affects learning and behaviour.

Nearly 40% said a neglected classroom affected learning, with 28% claiming it can have a negative effect on behaviour. In addition, a fifth believe attendance is affected by run down school environments according to the study, carried out to mark the launch of the Dulux Smarter Spaces 2017 initiative.

Intu's green-fingered volunteers transform charity garden at Autism East Midlands Fairview and Lynton residential services

Intu's green-fingered volunteers transform charity garden at Autism East Midlands Fairview and Lynton residential services

A DONATION of £1500 and a group of over 20 eager volunteers from intu have helped to rejuvenate the old school playground at Autism East Midlands’ Fairview and Lynton residential home to a haven for residents ahead of warmer weather in Carlton this week.

The garden based at Fairview and Lynton residential home, offers the residents with autism a safe and secure environment to go about their daily lives. A garden has played a role in the lives of the residents at their old home at Linby Drive.

Essential Reading for all Teachers: The Teacher’s Guide to SEN

The Teacher’s Guide to SEN

Natalie Packer, author of The Teacher’s Guide to SEN and SEND Consultant for the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), looks at the impact this has on teaching and learning, and how teachers can meet the needs of these pupils effectively. 

Just over 14 per cent of pupils in the UK are currently identified as having Special Educational Needs (SEN). On average, that equates to approximately four pupils in every mainstream class.

One of the key messages of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014 is that every teacher is responsible and accountable for every pupil in their class, including those with SEN. So what does this mean in practice for a class or subject teacher? 

How we can make use of our schools as a community resource

With budgets tightening and class sizes on the rise, there has never been a more urgent need for school leaders to find creative ways to future-proof their finances.

Finding ways to generate additional income for the school is no longer just about raising money for extra purchases, but rather a necessity for schools to meet fundamental expenses, such as teaching staff’s salaries, and vital learning resources, such as textbooks for the pupils.

Special Educational Needs at Under 1 Roof


The state of the art facilities at Under 1 Roof are all available for EYFS, Key Stages 1 and 2 pupils with special educational needs and can be booked for exclusive use by groups and classes.

Our provision includes:

The Children’s Theatre – where we can offer Autism Friendly performances and BSL interpreted performances

The Sensory Room – equipped with multimedia and multi-sensory resources to stimulate learning and development

The Therapy Room – where our trained therapists offer sessions specific to the needs of the child

The Soft Play Room – which can be used to improve coordination, balance and agility and release energy

People with sight loss now ‘see’ their drawings thanks to 3Doodler and leading UK sight loss charity Royal National Institute of Blind People

3Doodler Updates 3D Printing Pens and Receives Official Seal of Approval from RNIB for Use by People Who Are Blind Or Partially Sighted, Giving Teachers & Students New Tools For Accessible Creativity

LONDON, UK  July 13th, 2017 – When 3Doodler first brought its 3D printing pen to market, the company was inundated with feedback from people who are blind or partially sighted, or who work with those communities. Teachers of blind students were particularly engaged, envisioning ways to work with their students to instantly create tactile graphics they could touch and feel.

Koller Donates to an ‘Extra Special’ Special School

Pupils and staff from the Redway School

Children at a special school in Milton Keynes were presented with a totally refurbished minibus to use on trips out thanks to companies around the UK like Koller, specialists in the design and manufacture of wheelchair accessible vehicle products.

Pupils and staff from the Redway School, which is described as an ‘extra special’ special school and teaches children and teenagers from the age of two to 19 who have a range of learning difficulties,were pleased to receive their ‘new-look’ minibus.

New study shows British children need to get out and play more


With stories of childhood obesity never far from the headlines, it’s easy to believe that each generation of children is lazier than the last. But a new survey of 6 – 11 year olds suggests that British children believe they’re wrapped in cotton wool by their parents and would like more freedom to play outside.

The research by family skincare brand Sudocrem found that almost 3 in 5 children (57%) said their parents worried too much about their safety and almost two-thirds of those aged 8 – 11 (64%) thought they should be able to go to the park with their friends, unaccompanied by an adult.

What’s the best way to manage online risk to children? Stop the bad stuff at source, says Friendly WiFi director Beverley Smith


Feature copy, Beverley Smith

says Friendly WiFi director Beverley Smith (pictured).


The ‘digital revolution’ has transformed into the ‘digital evolution,’ as connected devices and online-empowered ways-of-working shift from being transformative to the new normal.

Education is no different. A third of secondary schools in the UK have Bring Your Own Device teaching. A further quarter are considering it. It’s a practice which is certain to become ubiquitous in time.

Enabling it is WIFi. It’s regarded by many as a basic service, like water and electricity.

Schools face uncertainty as new funding boost creates multimillion pound black hole

Schools face uncertainty as new funding boost creates multimillion pound black hole

Education leaders are questioning what lies in store over the next academic year after the education secretary makes an additional £1.3bn available to spend on core schools funding. 

The announcement comes on the back of months and months of campaigning over funding shortages, as schools across England were forced to make £3bn of cuts. 

However, this latest announcement has revealed a £1.3bn boost over the next two years that will result in schools funding being £2.6bn higher in 2019-20 than in 2017-18. 

Education secretary Justine Greening announced the decision yesterday and confirmed that the money will be freed up from within the existing education budget - not from any new money from the Treasury. 

How to develop sight, sound, and touch in the classroom

Small boy playing with lego

There are five senses associated with the human body: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. While all of these sensations are important for child development, the perceptions of sound, sight, and touch are used most often in the classroom. It is these three senses, however, that often appear the most difficult to develop in kids with special needs. Here are ways that caregivers can help children identify and strengthen sensitivity to images, noise, and affection.