A Kellet thank you…

Following our recent delivery of Book Fest celebrations at The Kellet School in Hong Kong, the school have just published a short film thanking contributors to the Annual Fund activities across the academic year.

We were delighted that our team of authors were able to make such a great contribution to the learning and understanding of the writers craft. (Our delivery is featured at 2 mins 30 secs.)

The Kellet School children produced a vast amount of very high quality work from the BgW week, as you can see from the film.

We were delighted to be able to contribute and know that our authors would be happy to return to Hong Kong any time. Thank you to everyone who took part in Book Fest from us too!

The Team at SmithMartin LLP – Books go Walkabout



Greggs and the Environment

Discover the Greggs fund here, changing environments for the better…

The Greggs Foundation environmental grants programme is now open for applications.

The fund is especially interested this year in applications from schools, but your project must meet the Foundation criteria for applications.

Individual maximum grants are for £2,000. The application deadline is 25th November 2016.

The Funding Committees of the Greggs Foundation are interested in…

‘…projects that improve the physical environment in a way that will improve people’s lives. This can include purchase of equipment, sessional salary costs, purchase of trees/plants, small capital projects and learning activities. We are also interested in new approaches and innovative ideas as well as sustainable approaches to supporting your local environment. ‘

Priority will be given to projects that meet one or more of the following criteria.

  • Improves the local environment
  • Ensures involvement of local communities
  • Delivers a sustainable and measurable difference
  • Supports people in need

You can find the fund application form here.

If your community organisation, or school, do apply…good luck.


Childcare Providers and Wrap-around Care in Schools

In  Children and Young People Now , 07.12.15 – a new announcements on childcare and schools.

Image 5‘Childcare providers could be given the right to apply to deliver wraparound care using school facilities…’, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to offer out-of-school-hours childcare using school facilities. (Picture: Peter Crane)
Under proposals unveiled today, childcare providers will be given the “right to request” that a school allows it to use its facilities to provide care for the children of parents at either end of the school day and during school holidays.

It has proposed that schools manage the “right to request” process and governing bodies take the final decision about what action to take.

A consultation has been launched by the Department for Education that runs until the end of February 2016 to assess how schools and childcare providers can work better together. It will also find out how schools respond to wraparound childcare requests from parents and childcare providers.

At an event to launch the proposals, Cameron said: “This will open up good quality, affordable childcare for parents at either end of the school day and school holidays – taking pressure of budgets and helping them plan for the future.”

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced plans to give parents the right to request wraparound childcare provision from schools in October’.

SmithMartin Partnership working with providers and schools…

The web and education – how we think about information

Michael Wesch of Kansas State University produces a continuous stream of films and concept refreshing ideas about information, education and the cultural power of the web.

The short film below offers the viewer some interesting insights into the way the web has changed how we will think about education, schools and universities in the future.

The Canadian media thinker Marshall McLuhan in the sixties saw that ‘…the school is the custodian of print culture’. Now, Wesch argues, the game has changed for institutions. People can read, wrie and publish their own reflections on the internet.

The Wesch argument is based upon the insight that ‘…the public now lives and breathes in a much larger sphere of information and knowledge’. He argues that education’s interface with technology should allow individuals to pivot their life course decisions by “…5 degrees”, in a way to release potential that would have been unimaginable before the advent of WWW.

The Wesch film also has a piercing shard of insight into the potential collapse of hierarchies. The abandonment of which schools and universities will probably find the hardest thing to achieve.

Wikipedia, populated with volunteered knowledge, is larger than the Encyclopedia Britannica. The web means, for Tim Berners-Lee, that ‘…the link is enough’. With enough hyper links the bookshelf, the hierarchy of knowledge becomes less important.

Not irrelevant, but in a way that allows the knowledge researcher to follow the nodes and synapses of a thought or idea – in a way which would be impossible in a traditional print library.

You can find Michael Wesch’s YouTube channel here, to see more of his film work around ‘digital ethnography’.

You can also find the Thirdsectorweb home page here. Our partnership service for schools and Children’s Centres. which helps to publish their information, knowledge and culture on the web.

The Schools System and
the Draft Structural Reform Plan

chdn groupSomewhere, in my past I remember being told ‘more haste less speed.’

The Draft Structural Reform Plan is in plenty of haste. Built into that, is the feeling that there is no time to talk about these major changes in our education system that will happen by September 2010.

To discuss openly can only ever be the right thing to do. Consultation is a process that, in the end, has huge benefits including involving people, creating ownership, making changes, being reflective.

So, why is there so much haste in these sweeping changes? At what level of breakneck speed are we expected to see the education system move into academies and free schools?

The Draft Structural Reform Plan, published by the DFE in July 2010 states that they will replace “the old, top down systems of targets and central micromanagement”. The power is being given to the people and the communities, only responsible to the Secretary of Education of course.
Improvements will be made through; local democratic accountability, competition, choice and social action.

But how does the setting up of academies and free schools be democratically accountable and provide social action or indeed choice. Schools set up by parents and anyone that wants to is not the same thing as being democratic

They would, I suggest, create competition and provide choice for those who can afford to move their children and to wherever offers the best in facilities and results.

chdn and worldBut what are the opportunities for the schools in less wealthy communities?

And where does this fit with the increasing needs of children living in poverty in our country? Will it bring a good education and a chance to broaden young people’s horizons?

It may enhance children who already have much, but what about those who have not? Are we heading to a fairer society? Will this narrow the gap between the rich and the disadvantaged?

The haste in which this will happen is staggering, over a period of 4 months, including the summer break, legislation will be in place.It is hoped that the first schools will be converting to Academy status in September 2010, one month from now!

Plenty of haste at a breakneck speed for major changes.

Let’s be clear about what the changes are, and for whom, and which children will really receive a better education as a result.

Early Years Funding – Free Entitlement

eyThe increase in the free entitlement from 12.5 hrs to 15 hrs a week (when delivered in term time) is already being implemented in some local authorities.

Its intention is to improve access to good quality early years provision and to support all young children’s development and understanding. It also is a great help and support to parents in the growing needs of young families and in enabling some parents to be able to access work related opportunities more easily.

There is a need for flexibility to be built into the programme so that parents can have a range of options to chose from. These should include access on a termly basis or through the year.

Schools and also private, voluntary and independent (PVI’s) settings generally have very different abilities to offer a range of flexible options. But these can be achieved and within areas or neighbourhoods there can be a number of ways of offering the extra time that will best meet the needs of the majority of parents. Some effective consultation is the best way to discover parental needs.

The pathfinders and local authorities that are already successfully delivering the scheme have been asked to have all settings offering 15 hrs by September 2010. Other local authorities now have until September 2011.

There is some helpful information on the DCSF website and includes research and findings from Sheffield and Cambridge.