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The force of physics: school wins £150,000

Changes to school meals a success R

esearch conducted by LACA and ParentPay, published at the start of National School Meals Week 2011, shows that after six years of funding to improve standards, 89% of parents are satisfied with their child’s school meals.

More than 10,000 parents were questioned in the biggest poll of its kind to coincide with National School Meals Week which launched on Monday 7 November. The Survey also found that the majority of parents have become more nutritionally savvy and eager to keep tabs on their children’s diet indicating that Government health and nutritional guidance is paying off. However, with dedicated funding for school meals under threat, and the exemption of Academy and Free Schools from the nutritional standards, the Government could face a backlash from parents as the hard work of school caterers is undone by a lack of finances and a policy shift, LACA warned

The poll also revealed: 96 per cent want children to learn to cook at school; 81 per cent want to be able to pay for school meals online; 15 per cent of those entitled to free school meals are not eating them; 80 per cent of parents said they wanted more information about what their children had for lunch. A

teacher from Surrey has scooped a £150,000 prize fund from e-learning site O2 Learn, by getting her students and thousands of others to see science in a whole

new light. The teacher and the winning school will share the money after pupils across the country showed their passion for physics, by voting her explosive lesson on forces as the site’s most inspiring and engaging video tutorial. Sharmila Hanson, a teacher at The Bishop Wand Church of England School in Sunbury-on-Thames was awarded the top prize during a special school assembly. Her success is down to a nine minute master class on Newton’s laws of motion, which features homemade rockets, crowd participation and animation to explain the science behind them.

Mrs Hanson beat off stiff competition, including rapping RE teachers and singing sociologists, to win the prize. Her video was the most highly rated amongst more than one thousand uploaded to over the last year by a combination of public voting and the views of a panel of expert judges.

The prize fund will be split between Mrs Hanson, who will receive £50,000 and the school, which will receive £100,000, which they have earmarked for the creation of a new outdoor learning complex.

Mrs Hanson, who plans to donate part of her £50,000 winnings directly to a school in India, said: “I was astounded, humbled and overjoyed to find our film had won. The ethos of the competition was right up my street as I’m very keen to advance teaching beyond ‘chalk and talk’. Twenty-first century teaching is all about ‘active learning’ – the pupil engagement and practical hands-on participation that forms the basis of my teaching and is realised so effectively by O2 Learn. They say rocket science is one of the most challenging applications of physics, but through our filmed lesson we’ve been able to make it accessible to students in a whole new way. O2 Learn is an innovative education initiative designed to celebrate the UK’s finest teaching and create a lasting learning resource that can help young people achieve their ambitions. Teachers are encouraged to upload and share videos of their best lessons on the e-learning hub. The ambition is to build Britain’s biggest classroom online, giving young people everywhere, from all backgrounds, access to inspiring teaching.

Since the scheme’s launch in Autumn 2010, visitors to the site have been asked to vote for their favourite video, with the most popular awarded £4,000 for the teacher and their school. This led to £72,000 being given away to teachers through the O2 Learn scheme. Last month, eight finalists were drawn from a pool of 1,000 uploaded videos, to be in with a chance of winning the grand prize of £150,000. There were two runners up, Claire Corrigan and Salim Rahman from Oldham Sixth Form College came second with their singing sociology lesson and rapping RE teachers John Cordeaux and John Allerhand from Sprowston Community High School in Norwich came third with their ‘Matters of Life and Death’ film. Second place will receive a prize fund of £60,000 to be shared between the teachers and the school, while third place will receive £30,000.

O2 Learn is part of O2’s Think Big initiative which seeks to inspire young people, and those that help young people, to make a positive change to the community. O2 Learn recognises the crucial role of education and the teaching profession in young people’s lives, providing them with the skills to make their communities better places.


Cyber-bullying increases A

s the UK prepared to raise awareness of bullying during Anti-Bullying Week, (14-18 November,) latest research revealed that cyber-bullying amongst teenagers is on the increase with 38% affected. 78% of young people fear cyber-bullying will continue to rise, while 46% feel that current initiatives are insufficient in targeting their protection, prevention and needs, perhaps partly explaining why 28% of cyber-bullying victims have not informed anyone of their experience. The research, Young People’s voices on Cyber-bullying, was commissioned by the Diana Award, with the support of the Children’s Research Centre, Open University. The Diana Award run a peer led bullying prevention programme, Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, in 200 schools and youth organisations throughout England. Maggie Turner OBE and Chief Executive of the Diana Award said: “This report clearly identifies the shocking and increasing numbers of young people affected by cyber-bullying. These findings plainly evidence that funding and improved safeguards are still needed to better protect our children in society. The study also shows the highest method, 28%, of those who report cyber-bullying inform a friend or peer mentor.”

To date, 1,500 young people volunteer and lead the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassadors programme in schools throughout England. The Ambassadors provide a network of young people who share and develop best practices and have received training to help them present bullying prevention initiatives and provide ongoing peer support. November 2011

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