Innovate My School

Innovate My School

Innovate My School empowers educators to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead proactively and, most importantly, feel inspired. It now entertains an audience of 50,000 educators through its weekly content, with 1,300 guest bloggers and over 2,500 articles published to date.

Monday, 07 August 2023 11:15

Empowered learning with Albert Teen

Take one cup of the UK curriculum, mix evenly with a dollop of Swedish edtech capabilities. Stir in the experience of teachers and feedback from students. Bake evenly for summer. The result? Albert Teen - an easy-to-use app and website designed to empower everyone in education.

Albert Teen is the latest offering from Albert, a Swedish company founded with the sole purpose of making knowledge and learning accessible to people from all walks of life. Committed to making a difference in the lives of students and teachers, Albert Teen brings together over 600 lessons and 15,000 exercises into a simple app and an easy-to-use website designed to support learning of maths and science for students aged 10-16.

With Albert Teen, the new school year can’t come soon enough. Students are set to start full of confidence as they grow into empowered, independent learners. Their teachers, already missing the classroom buzz, are looking forward to having more time to dedicate to being at the top of their game.

How does Albert Teen create empowered, independent learners?

 Surrounded by increasingly technical and complex edtech products, Albert Teen stands out from the crowd for its simplicity and responsiveness to the needs of Students and teachers.

- Students are drawn to Albert Teen for how fun and easy it is to use, helping create a natural love of learning.

- The more they use Albert Teen, the more empowered they become by the progress they see themselves making.

- As students take ownership of their learning, they can face challenges with greater confidence. This develops a natural growth mindset that spills over into other aspects of their school lives.

How does Albert Teen save teachers time?


Safe in the knowledge that the app and website are building the knowledge base of their students, Albert Teen saves teachers valuable time.

- Teachers do not need to spend significant amounts of time setting work or monitoring app data, as it is designed to be used independently by students.

- Every student has different needs and levels of understanding. Albert Teen gives them the chance to address gaps in their knowledge themselves, meaning teachers can spend less classroom time going over specific topics for individuals and more on whole-class learning.

- Teachers have more time to ask evaluative questions that deepen understanding and increase progress because the app gives students a stronger knowledge base.

Albert Teen is committed to helping everyone in education, whether it’s giving teachers valuable time back so they can be at the top of their game or empowering students with a love of learning.

That is one of the reasons why the app is currently free for the summer. It is also part of Albert Teen’s commitment to providing the best experience for users. By giving every student a chance to try the app over Summer, Albert Teen can gather invaluable feedback to make the upcoming version (set to be released in time for the new school year) as relevant and engaging as possible.

Visit Albert Teen now and see for yourself or email [email protected].

Sponsored content by Reading Solutions UK

In June 2023, Reading Solutions UK hosted a free online International Reading Conference in which educators from across the globe heard from thought leaders in education, literacy experts, and EdTech specialists on best practices to:

  • Develop a reading culture.
  • Accelerate students' reading growth.
  • Increase students' motivation to read.
  • Encourage reading for pleasure.
  • Implement digital reading strategies to ensure success.

Over the three days, some common themes emerged, which we would like to share with you all to inspire your practice.

1. Sharing knowledge

If you're looking to upskill, then the importance of sharing knowledge cannot be understated.

Knowledge can come from other teachers in your school, neighbouring schools, and even the broader community of educators on social media. If you are passionate about a subject or have an area of expertise, impart this to your colleagues or offer it to other schools in your local authority as CPD sessions – you never know, you may be provided CPD sessions in return.

2. Technology

Regarding more innovative uses of technology to increase engagement and interactivity, EdTech specialist Mark Anderson noted that sometimes no technology is best, mainly if not used effectively.

However, many speakers praised their consistent use of one-on-one iPads and the reading development programme Reading Plus.

3. Reading spaces

Many speakers mentioned the lack of a library within their schools, so they carefully and deliberately curated reading spaces using corridors, cupboards, and corners to create comfortable, casual, and inviting environments to encourage students to read for pleasure.

4. Reading rewards

Celebrating students' reading successes with all school staff and through certificates and newsletter mentions are great ways to encourage students' reading motivation and enjoyment.

Leanne Sayer, Teacher and Online Reading Lead at Ribbon Academy, shared that reading rewards in her school included tokens for a book vending machine and an opportunity to crack the code to 'The Cube' – a clear box with a prize inside.

Prizes don't have to be expensive, and Leanne shared that she sought support from her local community and business to donate prizes.

5. Reading for pleasure

Many speakers reflected on DfE reading for pleasure expert Teresa Cremin's sentiments that reading aloud is instrumental to reading for pleasure.

Teresa also shared reading needs to be led by learners and supported by educators and directed participants to the reading for pleasure website for further information.

6. Diversity and inclusion

The importance of text choice, particularly diversity within texts, was a sentiment echoed by all speakers. Professor Rudine Bishop's 'Windows and Mirrors' analogy was used to describe the significance.

Mirrors are instances where the reader can see themselves reflected within texts. This differs from windows, which offers the reader a view of experiences and lifestyles outside their own. Whether this is a story about a different culture, identity, or an event they have never experienced, this window expands their understanding, compassion, and perception of a concept they were unaware of. And for those whose life experiences have historically been forgotten, ignored, or misrepresented, these mirror texts are a long overdue reflection that works to empower, affirm, and inspire them.

Teresa noted that window and mirror texts aid reading for pleasure, claiming schools need a balance of 'old and gold, new and bold, and diverse texts'.

7. Personalised learning

Each session stressed the significance that there is no 'one size fits all' approach -personalised learning is essential.

Rewards should have a personalised scale for different groups, such as year groups, SEND pupils, and weaker readers.

8. Cross-curricular reading culture

Reading must be integrated across the curriculum to build a whole school reading culture effectively. As reading is the curriculum's gateway, students will improve in all curriculum subjects.

Staff should not be passive. Speakers advised that each subject teacher should be invested and have ownership over integrating reading development into their teaching and recommended CPD to achieve this.

9. Connections

The 'Reading House' model (adapted from Hogan, Bridges, Justice, and Cain, 2011) was frequently discussed. This reflects the connections between each reading skill and overall reading comprehension.

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Tips on strengthening the foundations include pre-teaching Tier 2 vocabulary and introducing books to the curriculum that link to those taught in earlier years.

Now what?

Hopefully, these takeaways have been helpful if you were looking for a few strategies to get your students to read effectively, efficiently, and for enjoyment.

Finally, if you feel overwhelmed after reading this list, here is one last takeaway from Reading Solutions UK's IRC23.

10. Relax

You will not be able to implement every single strategy – and you don't have to. Gradually launch and customise the methods you see fit. If they don't work, they don't work. You know your students best. Try another strategy until you find one that sticks.

To find out how Reading Solutions UK can help enable your students to read effectively, efficiently, and for enjoyment, visit their EdTech Impact profile page or email [email protected].

Choosing the right degree programme to match your career goals is an important decision for every student.

We all know that the health advice to any adult is to stay active throughout their lives and to include at least a moderate amount of exercise in our week. This advice applies to children too. Being physically active daily is essential for all kids' healthy growth and development, from babies to teenagers.

Are you concerned your students don't have the vocabulary knowledge to access the KS3/4 curriculum?

Tuesday, 18 April 2023 04:38

Free filmmaking course in London

If you teach at a school in or around London, this is a great initiative to give your students aged 13-16 an invaluable insight into the world of filmmaking. London Film School (LFS) has joined the National Saturday Club to create the new LFS Film & Media Saturday Club, which will launch on 8th October and will run for a total of 18 weeks at LFS in the heart of Covent Garden.

Following last year’s hugely successful series of free Virtual Fulfilment Centre tours, Amazon has announced new tour dates aimed to educate students on the opportunities available to them in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. The tours are part of Amazon Future Engineer, a purpose-led childhood-to-career programme built to inspire, educate and enable children and young adults from lower-income backgrounds to try computer science.

Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s youth engagement programme Get Set has engaged with over 93% of UK schools since its launch prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Monday, 27 February 2023 08:53

Fourth ‘JUST ONE Tree Day’ confirmed

On Friday 14 October (England) and Friday 30 September (Scotland), hundreds of schools will again take part in ‘JUST ONE Tree Day’ – an international non-uniform day where children are encouraged to bring in £1 to plant a tree and help reforest the planet.

The rule of thumb "the more you know, the easier it is to learn", is good news for teachers… mostly. Of course low attaining and underachieving learners get stuck in the trap: "the less you know the harder it is to learn" and then go on to develop further barriers to learning.

Thursday, 16 February 2023 12:00

School buys wind farm to reduce energy bills

Bishop Cornish CofE VA Primary School pupils become Ripple Energy’s youngest group of shareholders as they purchase part-ownership in new wind farm, protecting their school from the shock of soaring energy bills and saving 802 tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of planning an estimate 66 hectares of forest, or 33,000 trees.[1]

This Global Wind Day – the annual international celebration of clean wind power on 15 June – pupils at Bishop Cornish CofE Primary School in Saltash, Cornwall, brought a breath of fresh air to net zero, sharing a new way in which schools, businesses and individuals can stabilise their electricity bills by owning part of a large-scale wind farm.

The school and pre-school, which has 242 pupils aged 2-11, will be benefitting from shares in an 18.8MW wind farm nearly 500 miles away at Kirk Hill in Ayrshire, Scotland, in a project enabled by Ripple Energy. The Kirk Hill wind farm is thought to be the world’s largest consumer-owned wind farm and the second of Ripple’s revolutionary people-powered projects. The power generated by the wind farm will cover 100% of Bishop Cornish’s electricity needs, and in return the school will benefit from total electricity bill reductions of an estimated £235,000 and total carbon savings of 804 tonnes over the 25 years of the wind farm’s lifetime.

Sarah Adkins Chair of Trustees for Bishop Cornish Education Centre Charity: “100% renewable energy generation was a pipe dream when we set up our school charity in 2004. Since then, we have raised £400,000 to build our multi-award winning eco-education centre, become the first ‘Zero to Landfill’ school in Cornwall and begun investing in amazing creative and sustainable learning environments and skills for our children. With over 30 years’ experience in wind energy on our charity board and after due diligence we are thrilled to have achieved, through Ripple Energy, our net zero goal – we could not have achieved this alone.

In addition, once the difference between wholesale electricity prices and the low wind farm operating costs are rebated on a monthly basis, our charity and the school will be able to focus on what matters most – nurturing in our children a lifelong love of learning and caring for each other and our environment.”

Tracey Fletcher, Headteacher at Primary School, said“For us as a school we are absolutely delighted that Bishop Cornish Education Centre Charity has invested in the Kirk Hill Wind Farm. For us, it is much more than the welcome savings on our ever-increasing energy bills; we will be able to provide our children with the understanding and knowledge that they too can make a difference to a global climate crisis that we can no longer ignore.”

The purchase comes as energy prices in the UK are set for a continued period of instability. The energy regulator Ofgem has already announced that the annual energy price cap will increase to £2,800 in October[2] – a £1,573 increase from the beginning of the year.[3] And headteachers across the UK have warned that their schools are facing a 100% increase in energy costs over the next year, with many schools forced to cut budgets and redistribute their spending from classroom time and equipment for pupils to energy bills – making a choice between lighting and learning.[4] 

The Kirk Hill project will help Ripple members like Bishop Cornish School stabilise their electricity bills, as they benefit from direct savings to their bills based on the electricity their share of the wind farm generates. Ripple’s model enables members of the public and businesses to buy into low-cost renewable energy projects no matter where they live in the country – a way for all people to generate their own energy and save money off their electricity bills, protecting them from price spikes.

Bishop Cornish School is one of 18 businesses and 5,603 individuals that have bought into the Kirk Hill wind farm co-op, raising a total of £13.2m and making it the largest amount raised by any UK Co-op Society in a single offer, according to the trade association Co-operatives UK. Kirk Hill will also create total carbon savings of 12,750 tonnes CO2 per annum – that’s the same as the weight of 140,000 baby elephants – or over 2.2 tonnes on average per owner.

Sarah Merrick, CEO of Ripple Energy, said: "Owning part of a wind farm is the easiest way to protect yourself from future energy price spikes. Wind delivers clean, stable-priced power for the long term. We want as many people as possible to benefit, while also reducing their carbon footprint.

"It’s fantastic to see the breadth of people joining Ripple’s consumer-led energy movement, with Bishop Cornish leading the way in demonstrating how schools and other businesses can support clean energy and take control of their electricity costs, creating a greener future at the same time."

Ownership in the Kirk Hill wind farm is six times that of Ripple's first wind farm Graig Fatha in Coedely, South Wales, which began operating in March 2022. Owners get savings applied to their electricity bill that reflect the difference between the market price for electricity and the wind farm's low and stable operating costs. When market prices are high, like at present, savings are high. When the market price is lower, savings fall too. The net effect is to help stabilise bills.

Graig Fatha’s 907 owners have already seen collective bill savings of over £57,000 between March and May.      

Ripple is designed to be accessible to all: even if you can’t put solar on your roof or don’t have the opportunities to make energy efficiency improvements to your home because you rent, you can still have your own source of low-cost, clean energy.

And Ripple’s innovative people-forward approach is gaining momentum: reservations for its third, as yet unnamed, project opened on 4 May 2022 and more than 1,000 people have already reserved their spot. All households can sign up to Ripple, join the co-operative and buy shares in the wind farm in a few minutes. Ownership is flexible, starting at just £25. People can even generate more clean power than they use, as the cap on ownership is the equivalent of 120% of their consumption. The more they own, the more green power they get, the more they save.

In addition to passing savings to Ripple's members, the Kirk Hill wind farm will provide a community benefit fund of £94,000 per year. The co-op will work with the local community to determine the best approach to manage the community benefit fund. Ripple intends to focus the fund on fuel poverty actions or environmental projects, and will be conscious of other local needs when directing exactly how the fund is to be used.

1 . CO2/tree equivalence based on Encon calculations
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New research has today highlighted significant concern amongst both businesses and teachers about how prepared young people are for the world of work – particularly following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The polling is released by education charity Teach First as it launches a new report, Rethinking Careers Education: Investing in Our Country’s Future. The report makes a series of recommendations on how improving careers education – and increasing business engagement with schools – can help level up opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The new research reveals that eight in 10 teachers (79%) believe their pupils are less ready for the world of work when compared to previous years, while more than half of teachers in schools with the most disadvantaged pupils (55%) believe the pandemic has negatively affected pupils’ perceptions of their career prospects.

Teach First also conducted a survey of over 500 HR decision makers from British businesses and found they share this concern, with over half (56%) saying they are concerned that ‘lost learning’ from the pandemic will exacerbate the skills shortage amongst pupils and students.

While grades are hugely important, the research suggests that other skills are also highly valued by employers. When asked to select the top three skills that they would consider most if recruiting young people, they were most likely to choose broader soft skills (69%), literacy and numeracy (54%), and digital and IT skills (48%). However, when asked to give their assessment of the preparedness of current school, college and university leavers, 72% of businesses said that they were concerned about their level of soft skills. They also reported concerns about the level of literacy and numeracy (68%) and digital and IT skills (52%).

In their new report Teach First argues in favour of a series of recommendations which they believe could make a tangible impact on young people’s employability. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) of teachers agreed that improved careers education would decrease the number of young people that end up classified as Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

Children on free school meals are currently twice as likely to be NEET at age 18-24 compared to those not (26% compared to 13%)[i].


To help tackle this, Teach First believe careers education needs to start at primary school level. Teachers agree, with seven in 10 (71%) primary schools teachers believing career-related learning for their pupils will raise their pupils’ awareness of different career pathways, and two-thirds (66%) said it will raise their aspiration.

The DfE recently made a welcome commitment for a new careers programme for primary schools in disadvantaged areas in the recent Schools White Paper. In order to be as effective as possible, Teach First wants the DfE to work with sector leaders and publish a framework for effective careers learning in primary schools based on the Gatsby benchmarks and pair this with a new fund that trains and supports primary teachers working in disadvantaged areas.

Based on their own experience of successfully training Career Leaders in secondary schools, Teach First estimate this would cost £8.5m to support the top 10% most disadvantaged primary schools by pupils’ free school meal eligibility – which is approximately 2,000 primary schools.

The report also calls for a series of other key recommendations, including:

  • Large employers to offer blended work experience programmes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Whilst in-person work experience will continue to be crucial, online options offer employers a chance to diversify their recruitment and widen participation – particularly to regions outside of London.
  • Large employers should collect and publish socioeconomic background data to inform their outreach work with schools and recruitment policies. This will ensure disadvantaged pupils, who are far less likely to access work placements through their family networks, are helped to secure the same opportunities to vital careers knowledge and experience.
  • The Department for Education should use destinations data to target additional transitional support at schools and colleges that serve disadvantaged communities.

Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First, said:

“Our country’s long-term prosperity depends on the next generation of young people. Careers education is an essential part of that – making a significant impact on a young person’s development at school, as well as their future employment opportunities. Schools do their best to prepare pupils for the world of work, but that is not their core purpose. That is why we believe it is essential that employers are involved in shaping the future of careers education. 

“For too long, securing high quality careers advice and work experience has been a postcode lottery – that must change. With concerns over the cost-of-living crisis, and a potential recession later in the year, it’s vital that we do everything we can to give our young people the best possible chance to succeed and thrive in the world of work”.  

Simon Wareham, Teach First Careers Leader & Assistant Principal at Southmoor Academy, said:

“To accommodate all our work, our careers education team has doubled in size. As school budgets are always limited, I work with our headteacher to adapt existing roles and school funding. We also rely on business partners to support with free resources, travel support and activities. Thankfully, many employers are invested in supporting our pupils and helping them to consider career options.

 “Ultimately, all schools need to be equipped to provide their pupils with a complete education. We are passionate about making sure all of our pupils have the skills they need to be well prepared to go out and excel in the wider world.”

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