Corporate Director (DCS) Briefings April 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Please find attached an updated agenda for the 2 Corporate Director (DCS) dates on the 22nd and 23rd April.

CDB Agenda April 2021

There are still places available on the Teams meetings, please use the links below to book your place:

Thursday 22nd April 6.30pm

Friday 23rd April 11am

Regards,

Hazel David
School Improvement Team
Children’s Services

Governance for SEND and Inclusion on Thursday 27th May 2021 at 5pm

We are delighted to invite all school governors, school leaders, SENCO’s and clerks to join us at our next event.

Governance for SEND and Inclusion on Thursday 27th May 2021 at 5pm

Tickets are available via Eventbrite  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/governance-for-effective-inclusion-and-send-tickets-147642485649

Keynote speaker Professor Adam Boddison – Chief executive of NASEN will focus on how Governors and Trustees can develop effective strategic practice to ensure there is an inclusive culture for SEND and Inclusion in all schools as well as review of SEND in schools. This will build on the processes set out in Adam’s new book – The Governance Handbook for SEND and Inclusion”  Adam’s session will build on the governor training offered by the LA with our Head of Integrated SEND Service Hero Slinn, so governors, Senior leaders and SENDCO’s can build on this to work in partnership to put in place best practice for inclusion and support in their schools and particular settings

Professor Adam Boddison is an inclusive and innovative leader of education and enterprise with a broad portfolio of experience both in the UK and overseas.

Adam is Chief Executive of the National Association for Special Educational Needs ( NASEN) and Chair of Whole School SEND. He is also a National Leader of Governance and sits on the boards of the Active Learning Trust and the Academies Enterprise Trust, which together provide education for more than 40,000 children across 80 schools (and 6600 staff) spanning primary, secondary and specialist settings.

Adam is a Trustee of the Potential Trust, a member of the National SEND Forum and a Fellow of RSA as well as Chair of the National SEND Reference Group. Prior to this, Adam was Founding Director of the Centre for Professional Education at the University of Warwick and Academic Principle for IGGY (a global educational social network for gifted teenagers). He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Wolverhampton, a published author and a qualified clinical hypnotherapist.

Adam’s latest book, The Governance Handbook for SEND and Inclusion Schools that Work for All Learners supports governors and trustees in developing effective strategic practice to ensure an inclusive culture in their schools. Building on the six principles of effective governance, it provides useful tips on achieving the right balance of support and challenge so that schools are enabled to meet the needs of learners with SEND.

 Paul Randall  and Anne Sheddick

 On Behalf of Buckinghamshire Association of School Governors

Ofsted News – Issue 99 – March 2021

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OfstedNews

Our free monthly newsletter

Issue 99 | March 2021

Sections

 

COVID-19 updates
Ofsted: COVID-19 rolling update – This sets out our guidance and information relating to COVID-19 (coronavirus) for schools, early years, children’s social care and further education and skills providers. We are updating it regularly. If you need to see what we’ve added since you last checked it, you can select ‘history‘ on the page and this lists all the updates.

All Ofsted
Speech: Amanda Spielman’s speech at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Annual Conference 2021 – A speech by Ofsted’s Chief Inspector at the ASCL Annual Conference 2021.
Press release: Education inspections in the summer term – Ofsted will not return to a full programme of graded inspections until September.
Video: Sean Harford on data – Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director, Education, talks about Ofsted inspectors not looking at internal data during inspection.
Video: Sean Harford on curriculum intent – Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director, Education, talks about schools not needing to write intent statements.
News story: Area special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) inspections to restart – Revisits to areas with a written statement of action will start from April 2021 and we have published guidance for these visits. Full inspection will resume from June 2021.
Video: Remote education and SEND – A video with Ofsted’s research findings on remote learning and what has worked well for some children and young people with SEND. We have published three supplementary videos on SEND and remote education: what has worked well, learning for the future and bridging the gap. We have also published a discussion pack for leaders and practitioners.
News story: Ofsted to publish new series of subject reviews and reports – From April, Ofsted will publish a series of subject reviews and reports, taking a ‘state of the nation’ look at curriculum quality across primary and secondary schools. We have published a report that sets out the principles underpinning Ofsted’s series of research reviews and subject reports.
Ofsted pen portraits of Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs) – Updated HMI details for the London, South East, East Midlands and North East, Yorkshire and Humber regions.

Schools
Webinar: Inspecting in the current circumstances – exploring the possibilities – spring term 2021 – Ofsted’s East of England regional team deliver a webinar for school leaders.
Initial teacher education (ITE) inspection data summary report (IDSR) guide – This guide gives an overview of the IDSR for ITE providers and inspectors.
State-funded school inspections and outcomes: management information – Published management information as at 28 February 2021.

Children’s social care
Ofsted’s social care blog: The Care Review – a rare, not to be missed opportunity – Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s National Director for Regulation and Social Care, discusses the Independent Care Review and considers the burning issues faced by Josh MacAlister and his team.
Press release: Ofsted to introduce new Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) inspections – We have updated the main Cafcass inspection framework following a consultation that ran from October to November 2020. We have also added new guidance about the focused visits that we will carry out as part of the new framework from April 2021.
Inspecting local authority children’s services from 2018 – We have updated details of notification periods for inspections and visits. We have also updated guidance on arrangements for publishing inspection reports and letters, concerns and complaints about an inspection and on how our inspections/visits consider the local authority’s arrangements with regional adoption agencies. See ‘Summary of framework changes’ for more information.
Inspecting secure training centres: framework – We have removed guidance on assurance visits as these are no longer taking place. We have revised the secure training centres framework to take the education inspection framework into account and have updated the timeline so there is a shorter report publication timescale. We have also revised the Annex A form.
Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF) – We have updated the SCCIF to include guidance on the changes to Ofsted’s post-inspection processes and complaints handling, including the timeline, that we introduced in September 2020. We have also made minor edits for readability. List of individual frameworks with links as follows:

Further education and skills
January 2021: further education and skills providers – Updated to reflect changes coming into force from 15 March. Ofsted will carry out new provider monitoring visits to new providers that have not yet received one. We will discontinue progress monitoring visits except in exceptional cases.
Changes to the publication of statistics on further education and skills inspections and outcomes – Response to consultation published.
Further education and skills inspections and outcomes as at 31 August 2020 – We have now published our response to the recent consultation ‘Changes to the publication of statistics on further education and skills inspections and outcomes’. As a result of the consultation, we have made some changes to the provider types and groups. The provider type ‘specialist designated institution’ is now reported as ‘institute for adult learning’ and included in provider group ‘adult communication education providers’ together with the provider type ‘local authority provider’. The inspection outcomes for two prisons were omitted from the data and have now been included. We have updated the main findings and accompanying data, tables and charts with these changes.
Further education and skills inspections and outcomes: management information from September 2020 to August 2021 – Uploaded management information as at 28 February 2021.

Early years and childcare
Apply to register as a nanny – Clarification added to public liability insurance. You can apply to register as a nanny without this, but Ofsted will contact you to make sure you have it before completing your registration. Information also added to clarify that parents cannot enquire about their nanny’s application to register.
Reported coronavirus (COVID-19) notifications by registered early years and childcare settings – Added data for weeks beginning 8, 15 and 22 February and 1 March 2021.
Joiners and leavers in the childcare sector – Published data on joiners and leavers in the childcare sector in February 2021.
Consented addresses for childminders and domestic childcare – Updated consented addresses for childminders and domestic childcare as at 28 February 2021.
You can subscribe to this newsletter here.

© Ofsted 2021

Teacher Bulletin: a roundup of the latest coronavirus advice and guidance

Teacher Bulletin

 

Government review into sexual abuse in schools

You have undoubtedly been deeply troubled by reports of the sexual abuse and harassment young people have suffered at school and in the community that have come to light this week. Sexual abuse in any form is abhorrent and it is vital that these allegations are dealt with properly. We are taking immediate action:

  • A new NSPCC dedicated helpline will provide support and guidance to any victims of sexual abuse in schools. This includes how to contact the police and report crimes if they wish.
  • Ofsted will undertake an immediate review of safeguarding policies in state and independent schools. The review will look at the extent and the severity of the issue and ensure schools have appropriate processes in place to allow pupils to report concerns freely, knowing these will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

Young people and adults can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0800 136 663. Read more about this announcement on GOV.UK

Updated guidance for awarding qualifications in 2021

The Joint Council for Qualifications has recently published additional guidance and supporting documentation to help teachers make assessments of their students. This will support teachers while maximising consistency and fairness for students. It follows our February announcement on the alternative arrangements for awarding qualifications in 2021.

We trust teachers in their decision making and want students and their parents or carers to be confident that they will receive grades that enable them to move on to the next stage of their lives.

 

Ofsted’s plans for the coming months

Ofsted has set out further detail of its plans for the summer term, covering the full range of its inspection activity, including state and independent schools, further education providers, early years and initial teacher training.

Ofsted will step up its inspection programme over the summer term, with a view to returning to a full programme of inspections from September 2021. During the summer term, the majority of Ofsted’s activity will continue to be lighter-touch monitoring inspections, as has been the case since January.

The importance of COVID-19 home testing over Easter

Following schools’ and colleges’ success in COVID-19 testing on return to education, it is vital for staff, secondary and college students and their families, to keep testing at home throughout the Easter holidays and into the summer term. We would appreciate your continued support sharing the following important messages with your school community:

  • all staff, secondary and college students and their households should continue to test twice weekly over the Easter holidays
  • report results online whether they are positive, negative or void. This information is critical in helping understand the prevalence of the virus across the country
  • remember to test just before returning to school or college for the summer term either the night before, or morning of, the first day back to find and isolate any positive cases

There are different ways for a household, childcare or support bubble to access twice-weekly, regular testing at home, and there is more information on how households of staff and pupils can collect or order tests here.

Further support for support schools and colleges

We’ve pulled together some further information from recent announcements and updates below to support you and your staff plan for the summer term. 

  • We’ve produced a leaflet to support your conversations with clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) families who may be feeling anxious about the changing guidance for CEV people. From Thursday 1 April, CEV people are no longer advised to shield, meaning CEV children should attend school or college unless they are one of the very small number of children under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend.
  • New guidance and funding for summer schools is available for secondary schools to help progress plans after the Easter break. These can be designed for pupils who have experienced the most disruption as a result of the pandemic, with the guidance providing advice on issues ranging from enrichment and sporting activities to mental health support and accessing appropriate premises.
  • The Holiday Activity and Food programme launches in every council across the country during the Easter holidays, in line with the remaining national restrictions. The programme is targeted primarily at those who are eligible for free school meals, making sure the most disadvantaged children can make the most of the school holidays.
  • We’ve published updated guidance for schools and local authorities on how to use their Pupil Premium funding

 

 

NEW Governor Training – New Dates for Summer Term!

Dear Colleagues,

 

Further to the message below we have new sessions added (in red).

 

Governor Training – New Dates for Summer Term

 

We are pleased to announce new online training dates for the Summer term.  These sessions are free to all Buckinghamshire Governors and Clerks.

 

Click on the links below to register your place on Eventbrite. You will receive an email to confirm your booking, if not contact schoolgovernance@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

 

All events are conducted via MS Teams, please ensure the device you plan to use is compatible (eg: has access to chat bar).

 

Easter
Internet Safety 27th Apr 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Alison Watts
Prevent Duty – Guidance for Governors 13th May 18.30 – 19.30 Thu Alison Watts
The Role of the SEND Governor 18th May 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Hero Slinn
Embedding Equality and Diversity in Your School 26th May 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Yvette Thomas
Half Term
Educational Visits and Outdoor Learning 9th June 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Mike Harwin
Preparing for the Ofsted Visit Primary 15th June 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Ralph Batten

 

Exclusions – Guidance for Governors 23rd June 18.30 – 20.30 Wed Bernadette Little & Rose Lindsay
Health & Safety 29th June 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Caron Owens
Preparing for the Ofsted Visit Secondary 6th July 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Georgina Masefield
The Role of the PSHE Governor 14th July 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Carol Stottor

 

Please pass on this information to other governors in your school. Headteachers and other SLT members may attend these sessions.

 

Further information for governors is available at: https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/governor-zone/ and http://www.bucksgovernors.org/

 

Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services

 

For COVID-19 updates visit: https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/covid-19-corona-virus-latest-advice/

Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update

Ofsted have updated their rolling update, with clarification on their plans for on site inspection during the Summer Term and confirmation that the full programme of graded schools inspections will resume in Autumn 2021.

The update can be found here

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ofsted-coronavirus-covid-19-rolling-update#history

Letter to young people from Gavin Williamson

Dear colleagues

We  would  like to bring the attached letter from Gavin Williamson to young people to your attention and kindly ask that it is sent to all parents.

A letter to young people from Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education – Education in the media (blog.gov.uk)

Kind regards

The School Improvement Team

20 Best Websites to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021

20 Best Websites to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021

Julia Olech Last Updated by Julia Olech on March 06, 2021

The internet is a great resource to support home learning, but not all websites meet educational requirements or are child-friendly — some even have inappropriate ads! Teaching your children at home is stressful enough without having to frantically close pop-ups at the same time. Unfortunately, websites that are safe and entertaining often require you to pay expensive subscription fees. The good news is that there are useful free resources available to help your kids learn from home.

That’s why I rounded up a list of the 20 best free websites that provide engaging and fun learning experiences for you and your children. I made sure each website caters to a wide range of ages with games and interactive lessons that won’t bore even the most fidgety kids. The best part is that you can use them all at no cost!

Top 20 Online Resources to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021

  1. CoolMath4Kids — Practice Algebra With Fun Math Games and Tricky Puzzles
  2. Duolingo — Perfect for Improving Language Skills in Only 5 Minutes a Day
  3. PBS Kids — Encourage Learning With Popular Cartoon Characters
  4. GoNoodle — Fun Dance Routines That Incorporate Learning Through Movement
  5. National Geographic Kids — Investigate World Wonders From the Leading Geography Site
  6. TIME for Kids — Current Events (and More) Explained in Child-Friendly Language
  7. Cosmic Kids — Calm Young Minds With Themed Yoga Classes
  8. Funbrain — Fully Interactive Lessons to Keep Kids Occupied and Interested
  9. Scholastic Kids — Practice Reading and Understanding With Popular Book Characters
  10. Wonderopolis — Find Answers for Curious Minds That Always Ask Questions
  11. Science Bob — Science Made Fun Through Easy-to-Follow Experiments
  12. TED-Ed — Entertaining Videos That Stimulate Learning in Bite-Size Lessons
  13. Fuse School — Entertain Little Scientists With Lessons Created by Teachers
  14. Make Me Genius — Advanced Topics for Those Who Want to Enhance Their Learning
  15. NASA Kids — Explore the Wonders of Space From Your Own Home
  16. Exploratorium — Turn Your House Into a Laboratory With Hands-On Science Experiments
  17. Storynory — A Large Selection of Audio Stories to Improve Your Kids’ Reading
  18. Highlight Kids — Unleash Creativity Through Home Crafts and Games for Kids of All Ages
  19. Help My Kid Learn — Easy-to-Navigate Site With Simple but Effective Learning Tips
  20. ABCYa! — Great Learning Resources for Preschoolers and Teenagers

1. CoolMath4Kids — Practice Algebra With Fun Math Games and Tricky Puzzles

 

Screenshot of CoolMath4Kids main page

 

This self-proclaimed “amusement park of math” offers hundreds of games that teach children basic math skills. Whether your kids love or hate math, they’re bound to enjoy discovering how to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and create fractions with help from aliens and animals. Apart from fun games, CoolMath4Kids offers “Brain Teasers” — puzzles you need to work out through a combination of math and problem-solving skills. I often found myself scratching my head at some of them, so you’ll have as much fun as your children trying to come up with a correct solution!

CoolMaths4Kids is geared mainly towards pupils aged 3-12. For more advanced kids aged 13+, you can access the platform’s sister website called CoolMath that covers different aspects of algebra. The older students will be able to practice their skills not only through games, but also more challenging quizzes and riddles.

2. Duolingo — Perfect for Improving Language Skills in Only 5 Minutes a Day

 

Screenshot of Duolingo home page

 

Learning languages doesn’t have to involve big textbooks and hours of repeated activities. Instead, your kids can use a phone or a tablet and spend as little as 5 minutes a day polishing their language skills. Duolingo is a bright and easy-to-use app and website that encourages children to discover foreign languages through writing, speaking, and listening activities. With hundreds of languages to choose from (including French, Spanish, Mandarin, and more), the green Duolingo owl will reward your kids every time they complete a lesson. This creates a positive reinforcement that motivates young (and older!) users to come back for more every single day.

The platform also encourages a healthy competition between your kids, their friends, and even you! You can all race to see who can get the most points, the longest learning streak, the least number of mistakes, or reach a level milestone first. It’s a fun activity that engages the whole family and keeps your children excited about learning languages.

3. PBS Kids — Encourage Learning With Popular Cartoon Characters

 

Screenshot of PBS Kids main page

 

PBS Kids incorporates the characters from their educational TV shows and uses them in themed learning sections. Choose between Sesame Street Muppets, Curious George, Martha Speaks, and more to teach your children how to spell, count, or understand basic science. Every TV show character comes with a set of simple games, stories, videos, and even sing-along rhymes that encourage active participation and quick learning. As a bonus, PBS Kids also offers various tips for parents on how to incorporate online learning at home and motivate children to stay focused.

4. GoNoodle — Fun Dance Routines That Incorporate Learning Through Movement

 

Screenshot of GoNoodle YouTube channel

 

Home learning makes physical education a lot more challenging as it means children spend an average of 6 hours per day sitting in front of a computer or a phone. That’s why GoNoodle started their Good Energy Movement that encourages children all over the world to tunnel their energy into positive and mindful exercise. With over 14 million regular viewers, GoNoodle creates exercise videos that incorporate movement in dance routines, challenges, and even science lessons. On top of that, the platform regularly publishes themed blog posts with details on how to turn daily activities, like tidying up, cooking, and eating snacks into physical play.

5. National Geographic Kids — Investigate World Wonders From the Leading Geography Site

 

Screenshot of National Geographic Kids website

 

National Geographic makes learning geography fun with an abundance of resources to keep your children engaged and interested in everything the world has to offer. From discovering unusual animal species and how to read a map to learning about world history — you’ll find everything you need to equip your child with appropriate knowledge. Every lesson is accompanied by beautiful photographs and fun videos that kept me fully invested in each topic. Additionally, your kids will be able to play various games to facilitate their learning. I particularly liked the personality quizzes I filled in to discover which shark or dinosaur matches me best and games that let me crack secret messages and solve world mysteries.

6. TIME for Kids — Current Events (and More) Explained in Child-Friendly Language

 

Screenshot of articles on TIME for Kids website

 

Developed by the TIME magazine, TIME for Kids explores politics, culture, the environment, health, and sports through articles written in very simple language. It works in the same way as other online newspapers and magazines, but TIME publishers make sure each topic has age-appropriate photos and videos. This incorporates visuals to help kids assimilate new information easily. Though not as interactive as other platforms on the list, your kids will still benefit from simple explanations of complex subjects like global warming and poverty.

7. Cosmic Kids — Calm Young Minds With Themed Yoga Classes

 

Screenshot of Cosmic Kids yoga videos

 

Kids get a ton of stimulation on a daily basis which sometimes makes it difficult for them to slow down and just breathe. That’s why Cosmic Kids created a platform and a free YouTube channel that offers a variety of yoga and mindfulness classes. This turns sedentary screen time into active movement that encourages children to get up and wiggle. Every class on Cosmic Kids uses kids’ favorite stories (like FrozenHarry Potter, and Cinderella) and features storytelling through yoga poses. It keeps children (and adults) highly entertained and engaged throughout the whole video while also getting a much-needed daily workout.

Aside from providing great workout breaks, Cosmic Kids facilitates the development of emotional intelligence. I found specific “zen den” classes that encouraged me to recognize my feelings or learn different breathing techniques to keep calm. The mindfulness lessons also cover topics like dealing with nightmares or living in the present moment to avoid stress and anxiety.

8. Funbrain — Fully Interactive Lessons to Keep Kids Occupied and Interested

 

Screenshot of Funbrain home page

 

Funbrain is a great educational resource that masks learning through hundreds of games, books, videos, and comics. These are so interesting and engaging that children don’t even realize they’re actually developing new skills in literacy, math, or problem-solving! I could feed a human body and see what happens inside of it during meal times and learn how to prevent an electrical fire. Funbrain has so much more to offer so explore it yourself! Unlike many other similar websites, Funbrain offers all of its resources completely for free — including popular books such as A Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Daisy Nuzzlehead. The platform is designed for kids of all ages and even features special “Playground” classes for the younger viewers who aren’t as advanced as their older siblings.

9. Scholastic Kids — Practice Reading and Comprehension With Popular Book Characters

 

Screenshot of Scholastic Kids game, Home Base

 

Set up by the publishers of educational books, Scholastic Kids encourages children to read and learn with their favorite fictional characters. Your kids will explore the world of fiction through an interactive 3D game, Home Base. There, they’ll follow and interact with each character that will motivate them to read other stories in certain series or teach them about geography, astronomy, spelling, and more. I could even write my own stories and comics which is an amazing feature if your children are interested in expressing themselves through creative activities.

Though such freedom made me question its safety, Scholastic Kids ensures Home Base safeguards children through a strict word filter and constant human moderation. The platform also advocates for positive digital behavior and internet engagement to teach children the foundations of online safety.

10. Wonderopolis — Find Answers for Curious Minds That Always Ask Questions

 

Screenshot of Wonderopolis website

 

Created by the National Center for Families Learning, Wonderopolis fuels natural curiosity and imagination by providing answers to questions frequently asked by children. Every answer is broken down into understandable explanations through videos, images, and text that highlights and defines more difficult terms. At the end of each lesson, you can also find additional resources to explore the topic in more depth. Once you finish “wondering” you can test your child by exploring all “Wonder Words” and taking the “Wonder World Challenge” to make sure your kids really took the information in.

If your children have any burning questions themselves, you can submit a query and wait for experts to answer it. The fresh approach makes learning through the platform more child-led as it allows kids to explore their areas of interest.

11. Science Bob — Science Made Fun Through Easy-to-Follow Experiments

 

Screenshot of Science Bob's website

 

Science Bob became popular after becoming a regular feature on various US talk shows, like Jimmy Kimmel Live or Live Kelly and Ryan. However, the knowledgeable scientist also has his own YouTube channel and online website where he shares tutorials for at-home experiments. Every project comes with appropriate explanations written in a simple language that won’t overwhelm the young scientists. This hands-on approach is perfect for kids of all ages as it shows them how science works in practice. Science Bob also provides ideas and methods to carry out science fair projects which I found is an extremely unique feature that facilitates problem-solving and scientific thinking.

12. TED-Ed — Entertaining Videos That Stimulate Learning in Bite-Size Lessons

 

Screenshot of the list of available lessons on Ted-Ed

 

Aside from hours of lectures for adults, TED features a TED-Ed section that’s perfect for younger viewers. Suitable for children as young as 4, TED-Ed supports home learning through video-based lessons that explain even the most difficult topics like systemic racism and war. Each video features an engaging speaker or an interesting animation while providing in-depth explanations you and your children will surely enjoy. It’s also a fantastic way to introduce your children to a diverse range of perspectives and topics that they wouldn’t always come across at school. There are new lessons added to the library every single day so you’ll never run out of interesting topics either — and you’ll find yourself craving for more!

13. Fuse School — Entertain Little Scientists With Lessons Created by Teachers

 

Screenshot of Fuse School free signup page

 

With hundreds of educational videos, Fuse School teaches children about math, biology, chemistry, and physics. Every video is between 3-5 minutes long and features simple animations that help you understand tricky scientific concepts like GMO foods, organ transplants, and more. Despite touching on seemingly difficult subjects that even many adults don’t always understand, I didn’t find any lesson overwhelming, boring, or tiring.

Fuse School even offers its own social network that’s safe for the young users where children can interact with each other and talk about what interests them the most.

14. Make Me Genius — Advanced Topics for Those Who Want to Enhance Their Learning

 

Screenshot of Make Me Genius home page

 

Some children need resources that provide a bit more of a challenge through advanced topics and materials. Make Me Genius recognized that demand and created a space for those students who struggle to satisfy their hunger for education. Through animated videos, PowerPoint presentations, and more, the platform covers topics from Environmental Science and Nutrition to Great Personalities and even Parenting. Your children will also have a chance to test themselves through multiple quizzes you won’t find on any other website. It’s a true heaven for young geniuses all over the world!

15. NASA Kids — Explore the Wonders of Space From Your Own Home

 

Screenshot of NASA Kids main page

 

NASA Kids makes it easy to learn about space without the need to look through the telescope. With the help of Nebula (a friendly animated astronaut), your children will explore the ins and outs of what it’s like to be an astronaut and work for the world’s largest space organization. The platform also shares various details and reports on their past missions and each one is accompanied by mind-blowing real-life space images and videos. Difficult topics and concepts are also explained through interactive games and puzzles that entertain while educating.

16. Exploratorium — Turn Your House Into a Laboratory With Hands-On Science Experiments

 

Screenshot of the Exploratorium website

 

The Exploratorium is a popular public laboratory that now offers its learning resources through an online platform. Your kids will be able to explore the science behind computing, physical balance, tech gadgets, as well as discover what lies below sea level and how to launch a rocket into space. The website isn’t limited just to scientific topics — the Exploratorium holds lessons about the intricacies of arts and history too! Every lesson is filled with engaging videos and descriptions of actual experiments you can tinker with at home. You’ll even be able to carry out experiments without needing specific equipment as the “Science Snacks” section provides low-cost simple activities for everyone. Additionally, your children can enjoy a Storytime event when they’ll read a child-friendly story followed by simple science activity at the end.

17. Storynory — A Large Selection of Audio Stories to Improve Your Kids’ Reading

 

Screenshot of Storynory audio stories

 

Storynory helps children develop their reading skills by providing a wide range of original and classic stories in a form of audiobooks. Your kids will follow each story as it’s read out loud using not just the audio clues, but also a written text that’s underneath the audio clip. I was also impressed that the voiceover includes a short synopsis of characters from previous chapters so I understood the plot even though I didn’t follow the book from the beginning. Additionally, the narrator takes time to explain difficult “catch phrases” before each chapter to ensure everyone has a full understanding of all terms they might have never seen before. Storynory also lets you translate each text into multiple languages which is super helpful if English isn’t your children’s first language.

18. Highlights Kids — Unleash Creativity Through Home Crafts and Games for Kids of All Ages

 

Screenshot of the home page on Highlights Kids

 

While Highlights isn’t usually thought of as an educational platform, I found that it still teaches children various skills linked with creativity like problem-solving or experimenting. Based on the popular kids’ magazine, Highlights Kids offers articles and lessons on the same topics as its printed version like coloring pages, jokes, baking, and DIY. However, I also used the e-magazine to learn about scientific topics and listen to podcasts which you won’t find in the regular newspaper.

19. Help My Kid Learn — Easy-to-Navigate Site With Simple but Effective Learning Tips

 

Screenshot of Help My Kid Learn website

 

While it may not seem like the most advanced site, Help My Kid Learn helps you target your child’s learning according to their age and abilities. The platform offers a high variety of lessons and suggested activities sorted into 5 categories: Talk, Play, Read, Write, and Count. This layout makes it a lot easier for you to determine if your child meets its stage goals and develops accordingly. Additionally, you’ll be able to access useful tips for each age and how to prepare your kids for what they’ll have to learn next.

20. ABCYa! — Great Learning Resources for Preschoolers and Tweens

 

Screenshot of ABCYa! main page

 

ABCYa! Provides free resources for children from preschool all the way to 13 years old. The website was created by teachers with just one aim in mind — to create educational games that make learning a fun experience. Through gamifying school lessons, ABCYa! grew and expanded its content to teach kids Math, English, Arts, and more. Unlike other websites, ABCYa! also offers multiplayer games that will let your children play online with their friends which facilitates developing social skills while learning.

5 Necessary Steps to Protect Your Children Online

According to the FBI, there are over 625,000 sexual predators trying to befriend children online every day. At the same time, thousands of identity thieves target young kids on the internet to steal their personal information. That’s why you need to follow certain safety precautions before you let your child use the internet — whether that’s for online learning or just entertainment.

  1. Set parental controls on every device your child has access to.
  2. Whitelist specific educational websites you want your kids to use. This will automatically block any other platforms.
  3. Place time limits on how long your children can be online. You should also check if you can decide specific time periods and days their devices can be used, for example, Monday-Friday between 2-5pm.
  4. Never leave your children unattended when they’re online, no matter how old they are. If possible, put all digital devices in common areas (like the living room) so you can monitor your tweens’ activities without interfering in their personal space.
  5. Encourage regular conversations about internet safety and teach your children how they can protect themselves.

While it may feel like you’re placing harsh restrictions, these steps are crucial to ensure no harm can come your kids’ way as they participate in online learning. As long as you remember to include them in setting up the online controls and explain why they’re there in the first place, you’ll reinforce positive habits children won’t rebel against.

Make Sure Your Children Make the Most of Home Learning With These Online Tools

With so many parents being forced to embrace home learning, you need to use the best resources that will help your children reach their maximum potential. Home learning can be stressful but you and your kids can make the most of your learning moments with the right approach and help from online experts. Just remember to take appropriate steps to protect your children and teach them how to stay safe online — you never know who’s lurking in the dark online corners. Set appropriate parental controls and engage them in a conversation about ethical and secure internet behavior and you’ll all see the benefits of online learning in no time!

Governor Training – New Dates for Summer Term!

Governor Training – New Dates for Summer Term

We are pleased to announce new online training dates for the Summer term.  These sessions are free to all Buckinghamshire Governors and Clerks.

Click on the links below to register your place on Eventbrite. You will receive an email to confirm your booking, if not contact schoolgovernance@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

All events are conducted via MS Teams, please ensure the device you plan to use is compatible.

Easter
Internet Safety 27th Apr 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Alison Watts
Prevent Duty – Guidance for Governors 13th May 18.30 – 19.30 Thu Alison Watts
Embedding Equality and Diversity in Your School 26th May 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Yvette Thomas
Half Term
Educational Visits and Outdoor Learning 9th June 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Mike Harwin
Exclusions – Guidance for Governors 23rd June 18.30 – 20.30 Wed Bernadette Little & Rose Lindsay
Health & Safety 29th June 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Caron Owens
Preparing for the Ofsted Visit Secondary 6th July 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Georgina Masefield
The Role of the PSHE Governor 14th July 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Carol Stottor

Please pass on this information to other governors in your school. Headteachers and other SLT members may attend these sessions.

More sessions to be announced soon.

Further information for governors: https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/governor-zone/

Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services

 

For COVID-19 updates visit: https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/covid-19-corona-virus-latest-advice/

iSEND Updates for Headteachers

SENT FROM HERO SLINN, HEAD OF INTEGRATED SEND SERVICE

Dear all,

I am writing to you today to provide you with some key SEND Updates, both to the service, but also to the national guidance which I hope you will find useful.

Service Updates

 Website Launch

It is with great pleasure that I am able to share with you the formal launch of the Schoolsweb pages for SEND and Inclusion.  We hope this will be a useful resource, a ‘one-stop shop’ of information, including specialist teacher training sessions, key forms to fill out when requesting an EHC needs assessment or holding an annual review, and specific advice for supporting children with additional needs in schools.

SEND and Inclusion | SchoolsWeb (buckscc.gov.uk)

Do let me know what you think!  The team pages I hope you will find particularly useful, to check who your EHC Coordinator is or what projects the Educational Psychologists are currently working on that you might be interested in.  There are also specific escalation procedures included in there and a clear ‘who does what’ within the Integrated Service, that I hope will be of use when you are looking for support.

Alongside this launch, we have also launched our new SEND Local Offer, a statutory requirement, providing information for children, young people and families in relation to SEND services in Buckinghamshire:

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) | Family Information Service (buckinghamshire.gov.uk)

We would be most grateful if you could promote this with your families as a useful source to find information.  There are also links from the Local Offer to Schoolsweb for those families that require more detailed information to access.

As ever, both sites are ever evolving and we will continue to regularly update them both.

Speech Link

As we know, the COVID pandemic has brought about many challenges, not least for the continuity of programme delivery for our children, such as Speech Link in our Primary Schools.  As a jointly commissioned project by the CCG and Buckinghamshire Council, we have recognised this, and I am pleased to share that this commissioning arrangement has now been extended until July 2022.  I hope this will provide some certainty and enable you to make best use of this programme to support our youngest pupils at the earliest point.

Supporting Children into School

We all recognise what a year this has been for our children.  It is likely that many of those with additional needs might be experiencing higher levels of anxiety that can translate into behaviours that you are now starting to see in your school settings.  I urge us all to have patience and perseverance with this and to resist reactions against these behaviours such as exclusions wherever possible.  This is always a last resort I know, but in these circumstances, even greater empathy and awareness is required from all staff working with our children.

National Updates

 Local Area Inspections

As some of you may be aware, the Local Area SEND Inspection programme was paused for most of the past year.  Inspections will be resuming however from next term, with full inspections starting in June for those who have not yet been inspected, of whom Buckinghamshire is one!  For further information in relation to this, please do click on the link below:

Area SEND inspections to restart – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Children

From Thursday 1st April, shielding guidance will be paused for clinically extremely vulnerable people (CEV). From that date they will no longer be advised to shield and must continue to follow the national restrictions that are in place for everyone.

From Thursday 1 April:

  • all CEV children should attend early years provision, school, college, wraparound childcare and out-of-school settings, unless they are one of the very small number of children under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend.
  • CEV students who are enrolled in practical, or practice-based (including creative arts) courses should return to in-person teaching.
  • CEV staff are advised to continue to work from home where possible, but if they cannot work from home, they should now attend their workplace.
  • There is guidance to assist school leaders in actions they should take to minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting. This includes public health advice, endorsed by Public Health England (PHE).

Testing for Staff

Where staff and pupils or students are undertaking asymptomatic testing at home, this should continue over the Easter period. It is important for staff and students to keep testing through the Easter holidays to manage the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), as part of a regular habit of testing at home every 3-4 days (twice a week). NHS Test and Trace will be supplying sufficient test kits to schools and colleges to enable this to happen.

For schools and colleges, a letter template has been added onto the secondary schools and colleges document sharing platform to support communications to parents and carers. This covers testing for pupils over the Easter holiday and reporting results, as well as a reminder of the offer of parent and household testing.

Many thanks all – wishing you a pleasant Easter break when you get there.

Best wishes,

Hero Slinn

Head of Integrated SEND Service

Buckinghamshire County Council

County Hall

Walton Street,

Aylesbury,

HP10 1UA