Using Accelerated Reader

Education Endowment Foundation funds NFER to evaluate 'Accelerated Reader' in 200 English schools

Early research by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)  indicated that Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader, with its integrated use of online and software, raised the reading age of pupils by three months (low-income pupils by five months).

Now the EEF has invested £885,000 to further test the programme in 200 English primary schools with 18,000 Year 4 and 5 pupils. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) will manage the project to see whether the programme is effective at scale. It’s part of a raft of six new EFF research projects worth almost £4 million.


Smartphone to spare? A smart mapping project in Tanzania could put it to good use

A London educator is leading an innovative crowd-sourced mapping project using smartphones to get rural communities in Tanzania on the map.

Janet Chapman who, as a teacher and adviser, has worked on innovative projects across east and north London, has set up Crowd2map, on of seven projects selected in the Open Seventeen challenge, which rallies the public to use open data as a means of achieving the UN's new 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Mohima Ahmed

Tony Parkin joins the celebrations for five years of Apps for Good

Regular readers will know that here at we have been enthusiastic followers of the Apps for Good programme since its pilot days. It still came as a shock to realise that this year’s awards event (on February 4) also saw Apps for Good celebrating its first five years in schools.

Since it was first launched in 2010 at Central Foundation Girls School with 25 students, the course has been delivered to more than 50,000 students, in more than 1,000 schools across the UK, and now internationally.

treasure island

Nick Gibb's 'classics' deal offers little that schools can't have for free, writes Tony Parkin

On February 13 2016 the Department for Education (DfE) proudly launched its "New classic books in schools initiative". There's little new - or any 'initiative' - involved, as the department backs the cosy deal set up by schools minister Nick Gibb MP with Penguin Classics.

It aims to make a few bob out of the 100 recommended titles plucked from Penguin's Black Classics series. Most of them are already well out of copyright, and while Penguin has still been charging several pounds for most of them as Classics, other publishers were already offering them for anything between 99p and £1.50, and they are stock in trade for many a discount bookstore alongside the remaindered books.

KidsMeet Bett

Children's 'KidsMeet' presentations at BETT had a 360-degree impact, writes Catherine Steel

Even though the Saturday of the BETT show is often considered the ‘graveyard shift’, my Code Club children are still talking excitedly about the event three weeks further down the line!

The seven Year 4 children (aged 8 and 9) who attended KidsMeet with their parents, myself and another member of Redbridge Primary School staff, along with children from nine other schools are still making comments such as “When can we go again?” and “Can we write to Night Zookeeper?”