Showing posts from May, 2014


The need to differentiate and develop a differentiated learning environment or classroom is widely preached – and with good reason too, but what does the term differentiation actually mean? More importantly what does a differentiated classroom look like and how is it best achieved? Effective teaching needs to be aligned to the needs of individual students. The teacher/trainer needs to take account of the individual students’ knowledge, abilities and learning styles and then deliver the lesson or course in a way that enables individual students to maximise their learning, development and progression. Differentiating during teaching and training sessions isn’t always easy. The more diverse the student cohort, the more challenging effective differentiation becomes. On a one-to-one basis differentiation is relatively easy but as the group or class size increases this becomes a complex and potentially daunting task. A task that presents real challenges, even for the most skilled te…

23 Men win £500,000 in Equal Pay Claim

Twenty-three male workers at a Welsh University who were paid less than their female counterparts have won around £500,000 in compensation after suing for sex discrimination. Eighteen caretakers and tradesmen took the University of Wales, Trinity St David (UWTSD) to an employment tribunal claiming they were paid less than women on the same pay grade, including secretaries and office workers. The university's lawyers told a Cardiff tribunal that they would no longer be contesting the claim and agreed to pay out to the claimants and five more men on the same pay grade. UWTSD had initially argued that the pay difference was not due to gender but because of changes to the men's contracts. Paul Doran, the men's solicitor, is expected his clients to share a £500,000 payout. Concrew Training provides equal pay audits to help prevent issues like this arising

Changes to Flexible Working from 30th June 2014

The law on flexible working changes on June 30th. The right is being extended to ALL employees. Employers must ensure that workplace policies and codes of practice are up to date, fully complying with these changes. The new regulations mean that employers will have a duty to consider all requests BUT will still have the flexibility to refuse requests on genuine business grounds. If you receive a request for flexible working, there are three important steps that must be taken:- 1. Arrange to discuss the request with the employee as quickly as possible 2. If there is likely to be any delay in discussing the request, the employee must be swiftly informed 3. The process of considering any request, including appeals, must be completed within three months of the date the request Our Employment Legislation workshop covers this and other recent/pending changes

Based in London? Running a non profit making organisation or project? Looking for funding?

Based in London? Running a non profit making organisation or project? Looking for funding? The London funding market is one of the most competitive in Europe, the recession and other local factors have increased both the level of competition and the demand for funding from all types of community, learning, charitable, social enterprise and non-profit making organisations. This workshop examines some of the more common funds that London based organisations can access, local, regional, UK wide and European. It considers how these funds can be utilised to expand, develop and grow services and explains how to find and access them. It includes information and presentations on European Funding, LEP Funding, Charitable Trust Funding, Social Investment, Crowd Funding and a range of other funding opportunities. The increasing role of the Local Enterprise partnership, new European funding streams, changes to the Skills Funding Agency budget and new social investment programmes all provide …

Did you pick up last months changes in employment legislation?

Keeping up-to-date with the latest in #EmploymentLaw has never been easy but the pace of change throughout 2013 and 2014 has been extensive and significant. April 2014 alone saw changes to: * #ACAS early reconciliation * Discrimination Questionnaires * Changes in Tribunal compensation limits * Financial Penalties in the tribunal * Increases in statutory payments * SSP record keeping obligations * Illegal migrants The expected changes to flexible working and health and work service have been delayed until June 2014. Add to this rapid rate of change, the growth of the compensation culture and the tendency for employees to be more aware of their rights than ever before and it becomes obvious that all employers need to keep on top of the changes to avoid facing an employment tribunal, or worse litigation. #Concrew Training's one day workshop brings managers and staff up to date on the very latest in employment legislation, rights, responsibilities and…

Support on bidding, tendering and accessing funding

#Concrew Training has now published details of its workshops on #bidding, #tendering and accessing #funding

The Most Effective Managers use High Impact Communication Techniques

The art of communication is the language of Leadership. Even with brilliant technical abilities many people fall short by being unable to communicate them, effectively, to the desired audience. How you think, act and behave is directly linked to your communication skills, and in turn your communication is linked to getting the results you want. More at:

Competition law - FE Colleges Beware !

Traditionally, the public sector has been seen to fall outside the scope of competition law – or be a very low priority for regulators. But, with the changing nature of education provision, this is no longer the case. The regulatory body is paying more attention to the sector and recent changes mean that it now has greater powers to intervene if it's not happy with how colleges or training companies are operating. Many further education providers are unfamiliar with the risks they face; More at:


A wide range of risks can be faced by any Board, Governing Body or Corporation in the public, private or indeed voluntary sectors. These risks may be summarised as: - Governance and management risks. - Operational risks. - Financial risks. - Environmental and external risks. - Compliance risks. Against this backdrop over-aching risks a wide range of equality and diversity issues need to be considered from both an employment and service delivery perspective, including: 1. The Business Consideration Do those at the top understand what is meant by the business or economic case for equality and diversity in terms of either employment or service delivery? What is the cost of doing something? What is the cost of not doing something? Success for an applicant in a tribunal can mean thousands of pounds being spent on preparation for the case and subsequent compensation. With the defeat often comes appalling local and national publicity damaging the corporate reputation of the whole organis…

How important is differentiation in language teaching?

Differentiation doesn't, however, matter quite so much with primary age pupils, says Alison Mackey, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in the States. "The younger children are, the less important individual differences are to their learning outcomes," she says. "Researchers think this is because the younger they are, the more they rely on their 'implicit' learning mechanism. This ties in with the idea that there is a critical, or sensitive period, during which young children have an advantage over other learners in terms of ultimate attainment in language acquisition." As children get older, she explains, and begin to switch from that early ability to absorb language naturally to a more explicit way of learning, "things like [needing to develop specific] strategies become important." Looking for hi…

Checkout how any English school performs at KS1, KS2, KS4

Recently launched by #Ofsted their school data base web site allows anyone to input a school name, town or school postcode to get an instant summary of the schools performance. Ofsted School Data Dashboard provides a snapshot of school performance at Key Stages 1, 2 and 4. The dashboard can be used by school governors and by members of the public to check the performance of the school in which they are interested. The School Data Dashboard complements the Ofsted school inspection report by providing an analysis of school performance over a three-year period. Data can be filtered by key stage or by topic: - Expected progress - Attainment - Attendance - Closing the gap between disadvantaged and other pupils - Context

ACAS claim 4000 people have used their reconciliation service in the first month,

#ACAS claim 4000 people have used their reconciliation service in the first month, how many of the organisations involved would have benefited from #Concrew-Training workshop on Avoiding Workplace Disputes and Tribunals?


Individual employment rights have really increased over these last five years and likely to increase still further; with this increase comes the associated increase in risk that employers will need to deal with an increase in grievance issues and potentially employment tribunal claims. Consequently it is important that all companies, businesses, organisations be they private, public or not for profit take every effort to ensure their managers, systems and procedures are sufficiently well developed to firstly minimise the risk of problems occurring, secondly to diffuse issues, quickly, if they arise and thirdly provide a robust defense if matters escalate to ACAS or a tribunal Clearly, the best way of minimising the risk of tribunal claims is to have a workforce that is completely engaged, happy and content in their duties and persuaded about real prospects of career development. In the real world however, even with the best will in the world, problems will inevitably arise and the pr…

New Energy Efficiency Grants for Scottish Home owners, up to £7300 per home

Scottish householders will be able to apply for grants of up to £7300 under a new phase of a scheme to make homes more energy efficient. Home owners, landlords and tenants will be able to apply for the funding from June until 2015.

Your Life campaign aims to increase STEM subjects study by 50%

Science and Maths are the pathway to a successful future. Yet fewer than 20% of 16-19 year olds take A-Level Maths, and half of mixed state schools had no girls study A-Level Physics in 2011. The Your Life campaign aims to change this, with an ambition to increase the number of students studying STEM subjects by 50% over the next three years.

Ofsted to inspect private schools ?

#Ofsted should be able to inspect private schools in England, Education Secretary Michael Gove has suggested. He said Ofsted's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, was "the person who is most trusted" on educational standards in England. Speaking at a conference at fee-paying Brighton College, Mr Gove was asked if he could foresee a single inspectorate. Brighton College headmaster Richard Cairns predicted a "lukewarm" response to the idea from many private schools. Currently private schools are inspected by various bodies. The biggest is the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). more at:

Free School Meals - Yes or No - what do you think

Officials have warned Nick Clegg that his plan to offer free school meals to four- to seven-year-olds risks diverting money away from teaching in a way that is "wholly unacceptable" to Michael Gove, leaked emails reveal. In an escalation of the coalition row over the policy, correspondence handed to the BBC's World at One showed that the education secretary objected to the way the policy was costed, and warned in a letter to the Treasury that the government "must not risk forcing schools to subsidise meals by reducing their spending on teaching and learning". A further email from a senior official, hours before the deputy prime minister was due to speak publicly about the £1bn policy, was marked "NOT CLEARED" and warned that it would cost much more than originally thought to implement. "The gap between the deputy prime minister's figure and the Treasury funding will require our secretary of state to divert money from providing school place…

Weaning Students off Internet Addiction

Secondary school pupils have shared ideas on how to help young people who have become dependent on internet-enabled devices, after a survey of 11 to 17-year-olds found that 40% sometimes felt addicted to their smartphone, laptop or tablet. The students spoken to had been using a tablet to study for more a year, as part of an ongoing programme by the charity Tablets for Schools. The first suggestion in the students' charter is to resist the temptation to keep internet enabled devices with you when you go to bed. Some 64% of the 2,228 pupils spoken to said they did this, and a correlation was found between this happening and feelings of addiction. Setting limits on how often you check sites like Facebook, finding new activities to do offline when you're feeling bored and turning off devices when studying were also part of the guidance. More at:

FE commissioner’s report failing colleges

“The timing of publication for each summary will be determined on a case by case basis and the first report is due to be published at the end of this month.” Dr Collins, who can call for college leaders to be stripped of powers and even advise the Skills Minister to shut a college down, took up the newly-created post in December, but his reports and recommendations have been largely kept under wraps. However, a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) told FE Week: “The decision has been taken to publish summaries of the findings from the FE Commissioner to enable the sector to see and learn lessons from those that have been through the process. So far Dr Collins has visited at least six colleges — K College, Stockport College, Barnfield College, City of Bristol College and City of Liverpool College. He has also been to LeSoCo, but his warning of weaknesses in leadership at the grade four South London college failed to result in a change in either p…

The Govenment on Improving food in hospitals and schools

With regard to school food standards, school leaders are best placed to make decisions about the day-to-day running of their schools. Whilst there is no requirement for schools to serve food from British farmers and fish from sustainable sources, a number of schools already do so. For example, holders of the Food for Life Partnership gold and silver awards are required to demonstrate how they source ethical and environmentally-friendly food and support local food producers. The proposed revised school food standards state that wherever possible, foods should be prepared in the school’s own kitchen from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The Department for Education encourages academies and free schools to recognise the benefits of promoting healthy eating and good nutrition by providing food and drink in a way that is broadly consistent with the established standards. In July 2012, the Department for Education published a review of school food, the School Food Plan. In undertaking t…

Developing and Delivering Grade 1 Lessons when Prep Time is at a Premium

One of the biggest challenges facing organisations, teachers and trainers in delivering Grade 1 ‘outstanding’ lessons and training sessions, is lack of time. Time to plan and prepare learning is essential – but at always at a premium – consequently most lessons and training sessions have to be developed quickly with minimal preparation and resources. This one-day workshop on #Outstanding-Teaching from #Concrew-Training reminds participants of what makes any teaching or training session outstanding, gives clarity on what Grade 1 lessons or training sessions typically look like and then considers how they need to be structured to ensure outstanding learning. The workshop then examines techniques, approaches and toolkits that enable teachers and trainers to develop and deliver outstanding learning sessions when preparation time is at a premium. Participants explore the importance of differentiation, pace and the need to maintain high levels of involvement, motivation and interest from…

17% of university teachers on zero-hours contracts - UCU action today

07 May 14 Day of Action calls for end of 'no-rights' casualisation culture in universities and colleges Millions of students taught by staff with few rights or facilities • 30% of college teachers and 17% of university teachers on zero-hours contracts • 67% of university researchers on temporary contracts Members of UCU across the UK are taking part in a day of action tomorrow to draw attention to the vast numbers of staff employed on zero-hours or other temporary contracts in universities and colleges. The union says the sector is overly reliant on casualised staff with millions of students taught every day by temporary teachers with little or no employment rights or job security. Freedom of Information requests by UCU found that, in 112 further education colleges, 30% of teaching staff were on zero-hours or similar contracts. More at:

Early Conciliation - The New Mandatory; free, fast and less stressful alternative to employment tribunals

If you are intending to make a claim to an employment tribunal you must now notify Acas first. Acas will offer you the chance to use Early Conciliation - an opportunity to settle workplace disputes without going to court. There are a limited number of exemptions that may apply. Acas advice is always that it is best for employers and employees to resolve disputes as early as possible. Reaching a settlement through conciliation is quicker, cheaper and less stressful for all concerned than a tribunal hearing. More at:

Funding to selected Schools share new assessment initiatives

Some £10,000 worth of funding is to be made available to nine successful schools, enabling them to turn their ideas into free, easy-to-use packages that can be shared with other institutions. More at:

More than 1.5m children are in underperforming schools !!!

The Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt MP yesterday claimed Labour’s new plans to introduce local oversight of schools would improve school performance. This follows the publication of a review on the topic by David Blunkett MP, former Secretary of State for Education and Employment under Tony Blair’s government. Data from Ofsted for December 2013 confirms 1.8 million children are in schools rated as satisfactory (re-labelled in 2012 as ‘requires improvement’ but labelled as ‘satisfactory’ in the data) or inadequate. More at:

Government has announce a review of initial teacher training

The government has announced a review of initial teacher training courses, in a move that will highlight divisions between the education secretary and universities over how new teachers should be prepared for the classroom. The independent review, to be completed by the end of the year, will define effective practice, decide whether the current system delivers it and recommend improvements and ways to strengthen the "transparency" of courses More at:

WOW ! Amazon offers their low-paid staff up to £8,000 towards retraining fees

This is an example that all employers should take note of ! More at:

the Minister for Schools announces plans for a second phase of the Priority School Building Programme

But we want to do more, building on the success of the Priority School Building Programme. So today I am announcing that, as part of our capital expenditure over the next spending review period from 2015 to 2021, we will fund a second phase of the Priority School Building Programme, with a value of around £2 billion. Read the full announcement at:

Lord Nash speaks about unlocking the power of academies

As I have said this is a very exciting and important time to be involved in education. Huge change is taking place enabling us not just to unlock the power of education to change lives but also to convert the school system into a genuinely school-led system, not run by central or local bureaucrats but by school leaders themselves who must be the best people to drive it forward. Read the full transcript at

Matthew Hancock speaks about improving vocational education

To end the divide between vocational and academic. It’s a false divide: only rigour in both will help our young people. And to end the divide between training and work. It’s a dangerous divide: only responsiveness will help people get jobs, and help employers grow. And if we can do that - think of what’s possible. What livery companies may come in the future, no one can say. But I hope that if we’re in this hall in 10, or 20 or 30 years, we’re still talking about the success stories of this decade - of a time when we ended the divides that have held us back. Read the full speech at: