ICT is fuelling the growing momentum for parental engagement. Gerald Haigh explains how

Parent supporting child's workParents are key to learning (pic: James Hallybone)It’s growing fast and on its way to a school near you. Parents want it, and schools know it drives achievement. Yes, folks, it’s online parental engagement, and it’s a challenge that’s throwing up some important questions for school leaders.

Learners across 123 countries discover from victims how some everyday luxuries are paid for in blood
former boy soldier JimiykeCentral Foundation girls interview former boy soldier JimiykeWhen Jimiyke was 10 he was kidnapped by his sister's boyfriend, dragged into the bush, drugged and forced to fight in the Sierra Leone civil war. His salvation was education, and now he is a key contributor to Rafi.ki's Blood Diamonds Project to share his insights with learners across 123 countries.

Jimiyke's experiences are familiar to children in scores of armed struggles fuelled by "conflict minerals". More than five million lives have already been lost in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and there are worries that Afghanistan will be the next region to be “cursed” by the discovery of precious minerals.

By Bob Harrison
Research shows that children achieve more highly when their parents talk to them about their experience of school and learning. However, a recent Becta report showed that 82 per cent of parents felt left in the dark when it comes to their child's schooling.

Scholabra is an easy to use web-based system for enabling parents and schools to communicate and it's proving a hit with teachers and parents at Lostock College, an 11-16 secondary school in Trafford, Manchester.

By Daniel McKeown

Alice TaylorAlice Taylor: 'massively successful'It’s two years since Channel 4 Education made the shift from daytime TV to developing online content in partnership with small software houses and independent studios, and the move appears to have reaped huge dividends

When plans for 2010’s online releases were unveiled recently, Channel 4 Education revealed how successful the transition from mid-morning broadcasting to online content has been: the attention-grabbing interactive element of online resources, the permanence of a URL compared to the transience of a one-off TV slot and the improvement in budget efficiency are contributing to a very positive mood. “It’s been massively successful,” says Alice Taylor, commissioning editor for education.

Sal McKeown welcomes a booklet on creativity from Future Creative
Creative Teaching coverCreative Teaching for Tomorrow: Fostering a Creative State of Mind is a very attractive booklet which gives a good overview of the current thinking and research.

The overall findings in this research, conducted for Creative Partnerships Kent by Future Creative in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University, are that there are three key elements which define the creative teacher. The individual teacher’s personal qualities are crucial. They need to possess curiosity and a desire to learn, a sense of humour and enthusiasm. They should have a "secure knowledge base" and understand children’s needs and interests.