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YHGfL 2.0 – A new beginning

Until recently, YHGfL has worked largely through local authority colleagues and structures, providing services and resources in an extremely cost-effective way and saving significant sums of money in the process. However, the changes that have been affecting everyone in education over the past few years means that this model is no longer the most effective […]

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Lauren Child joins LGfL’s ReadingZone Live literacy resource.

September 1st, 2014 by David Tidman


Lauren Child, author of Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort took part in a live video conference at the end of the summer term and was interviewed as part of the LGfL ReadingZone live project. Lauren offered a personal insight into her approach to both writing and illustrating books – and included explanations about the pressures facing successful authors.

The issues surrounding writing different types and lengths of books are discussed along with the process of adapting books for television . All the interview clips are featured in a clear and engaging way for both teachers and young writers and illustrators to use as inspiration for their own work.

The full interview and video conference is now viewable via


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Scratch Jr – Scratch for younger children and its on the iPad!

July 31st, 2014 by David Tidman

scratch jr

ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. Children can modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, even insert photos of themselves – then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life.

ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language, used by millions of young people (ages 8 and up) around the world. In creating ScratchJr, they redesigned the interface and programming language to make them developmentally appropriate for younger children, carefully designing features to match young children’s cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development.

To find out more visit their site at

To download for the iPad go to iTunes

P.S. The Android version is on its way!

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Inspecting computing

July 16th, 2014 by David Tidman


At the recent Barefoot computing event run by Computing at Schools David Brown,  the National Lead for Computing for Ofsted presented on  inspecting  computing and eSafety. His presentation can be found at In dialogue recently with him, he emphasised the need for the delivery of the computing curriculum in KS4. Students do not have to follow an accredited route at KS4 but the computing PoS, including the e-safety bullet point, is still statutory (in maintained schools) for all pupils.




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Getting ready for University – some resources to help students stay eSafe

July 14th, 2014 by David Tidman


Many young adults are now looking forwards to going onto University representing a momentous occasion in their lives, often coupled with leaving home and signifying their first real taste of independence.


The internet will play an integral part in this transition, both in terms of socialising and learning, however some will face online issues such as cyberbullying and trolling, protecting their reputation and their privacy online.  Very often, these situations are compounded as the support systems they have relied upon in school are not as readily available to them anymore.


With this in mind, our colleagues at The South West Grid for Learning have created some brand new fact sheets that school may wish to share with their student communities heading to university. These are designed to provide some useful tips and links and above all provide some food for thought for students to consider their online behaviour and its consequences.


They can be found here:

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Operation Flag Day – an eSecurity challenge for secondary school students

July 14th, 2014 by David Tidman

Flag day

Have your students got what it takes to lead teams of online defenders in the fight against cyber terrorism? Prove it with our brand new ISM Skills Draft from Infosec Skills Ltd and win the chance to protect the UK from the mysterious Flag Day Associates

Since taking on the mission to alleviate the threat posed by the Flag Day Associates, the Cyber Security Challenge have been assessing the skills it will need to take the fight to this group of potential cyber terrorists.


For the latest step in our drive to find the right teams of talent and expertise, the Challenge has asked Infosec Skills Ltd to test members of the UK public over the coming few months and find future Information Security Managers that will be essential to lead our teams of cyber defenders into battle.


The competition is open now and you can sign up here


For an overview of Operation Flag Day including the story so far, click here

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Offers from PolarFish Interactive resources

July 10th, 2014 by David Tidman


As the summer holidays approach Polar Fish Interactive resources are making tow can help support learning in two important ways.

1. They are currently offering all schools in the UK a free subscription until the new school year which gives free subscription now gives your students access over the summer, maintaining their learning and helping to prevent the Summer Holiday drop!

2. Parents can also sign up to Polar Fish online and get great deals for the Summer Holidays. Keep children’s minds active and engaged with full access to a full library of books available through the devices they like to use; their phone, ipad and laptop. The stories and exercises will make learning fun and keep them engaged all summer long. You can either sign up online or get in touch with them for special summer deals at



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European competition for young people’s e-safety films, posters or other resources!

July 10th, 2014 by David Tidman

There is a European-wide competition inviting young people to submit resources that express ideas around creating a better internet. 


If your pupils have created a poster, film, poem or other resource in your e-safety lessons this year, then it’s a great opportunity to showcase these!


Entries must be submitted online before15 September. Find out more at


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EU Code Week 11th – 18th October 2014

July 7th, 2014 by David Tidman

In a world where we’re surrounded by technology, and where so many of our interactions we have are with computers, learning to code helps us understand how these services work.

What’s more, learning to code gives us a powerful way to explore our ideas and make things, both for work and play.

Get involved

If you’re part of a code club or group, and you’re meeting during Code Week, tell them what your up to

Not part of a group but want to take part? You can still run a Code Week event in your area. They have  compiled a list of guides and resources which you might find useful. Community groups, companies and non-profits are all welcome to run a Code Week event.

There are also Code Week Ambassadors on the ground in every country. Get in touch with yours if you’d like to volunteer


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Accidental Damage and Theft insurance cover in schools

July 4th, 2014 by David Tidman

With the continuing growth of 1:1 devices for 21st Century learning in schools firms are scrambling to service this growing valuable sector. A viable 1:1 device solution will require some sort of protection against accidental damage and theft (ADT) of the device and the servicing or replacing of the device in any of these eventualities.

As ADT cover is insurance which is a regulated activity, schools, parents and students are safe in knowing that this is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They take responsibility over authorised and approved providers of these types of insurance products amongst many other finance and insurance products and they appear on a published register of authorised and regulated providers which includes anyone who provides cover for 1:1 devices for ADT insurance as part of a solution. It costs a lot to become authorised and regulated and it is a big responsibility as either a regulated entity or an appointed representative of one.

You can check the status of providers here to ensure they are FCA registered

(Taken from the NAACE newsletter – July 2014)

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OCR statement on computing assessment tasks for J275

July 4th, 2014 by David Tidman

If colleagues haven’t seen this announcement from OCR about their controlled assessment, here it is

OCR announced on Friday that the controlled assessment tasks supporting the J275 GCSE computing units A452 and A453 were being withdrawn with immediate effect. However after further consideration OCR have issued an updated statement as follows:


The availability of model answers to live controlled assessment tasks for two units of GCSE Computing J275 on a number of public websites means OCR has had to act so that the assessment is not compromised and all students receive the result they deserve.

One course of action that OCR follows if sensitive information such as this is available is to ask public websites to remove the information as soon as possible. After a school got in touch last week to raise its concerns, OCR reviewed the options in line with regulatory requirements.

We have now completed that review – and while there is no suggestion of widespread malpractice – we have to act to avoid the slightest possibility that one candidate could gain an unfair advantage over another. As a result, we have decided that with immediate effect OCR will withdraw the existing controlled assessment tasks and will be replacing them for the next academic year on Interchange by 15 September 2014. To avoid penalising the vast majority of hard-working students and teachers, those candidates who have completed or just started their controlled assessment tasks with entries in June 2015 will still be able to submit their work. Schools and colleges will however be asked to submit the names of their candidates and the tasks for each unit by the end of September, and we will be in touch over the coming weeks with further details. OCR’s examiners will be extra vigilant when overseeing the marking process and will use a range of tools to ensure that no candidate has gained an unfair advantage.

We apologise for the disruption caused by this decision, and for an earlier communication posted in error on our website on Friday before today’s decision was reached. If you have any queries about this notice, please contact the Customer Contact Centre on 01223 553998

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