GET CODING with The Voice UK

To celebrate British Science Week the BBC is at The Big Bang Fair bringing coding to life with The Voice UK in an exciting interactive live lesson on computer science for upper key stage 2 and key stage 3. 
‘The Voice UK Make it Digital Live lesson’ will be 45 minutes long and will be webcast live on Friday 13 March 2015 at 11am! Please visit to watch and interact with the live webcast. (Details will be available on the BBC website on the 2 March 2015 about how your students can get the most out of the lesson).
We will be inspiring years 6 – 8 to get creative with coding and covering key curriculum concepts. Including – algorithms, sequencing, iteration, selection, coding and computational thinking. So join Clara Amfo Radio 1’s chart show presenter for this unique computer science live lesson. We will be having amazing expert guests to demystifying and celebrating computer science’s creative potential including…Lilly Kam,’s coding mentor explaining coding key concepts and other special guests.
We encourage schools to get their Years 6 to 8 to watch the live webcast together in a school assembly room or any open space with internet and video access. Elements of the live webcast are interactive so students should have access to marker pens, paper and clipboards. 
For more information about the lesson please email with ‘INFORMATION’ in the subject line.

Safer Internet Day, Tuesday 10th February 2015

Safer Internet Day, on Tuesday 10th February, is a great opportunity to get everyone in school involved with eSafety.  It is not too late if you haven’t got anything planned yet, why not try doing an assembly or have a go at one of the lessons?  Have a look here – .  The resources on the Safer Internet Centre website are there, free, for you to use.  Encourage all staff to use them.  If you are unable to get things organised for Tuesday 10th February, why not hold your own Safer Internet Day on a different day, all the resources will still be there for you to use.  As good as it is to get involved with this fabulous day, the key thing with eSafety is to see it as an all year round activity, not a one off event each year.  So what are the key ingredients for a school that wants to be eSafe?


Pupils should be getting regular, high quality activities around eSafety issues.  The new curriculum for computing includes eSafety, for example at KS2 it states they should be able to:

use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact

It is important to state that eSafety should not just be covered within computing, yes it is an obvious place for it, but there are many other times when pupils could discuss eSafety.  Where should you go for resources? Have a look at the matrix grid here that looks at the resources that match all the different areas of eSafety –

Why not get pupils involved in keeping each other safe with a scheme like digital leaders (free) or ecadets (paid service)?


In order for pupils to have high quality activities and discussion regarding eSafety, teachers need to have knowledge and understanding of the topic.  If eSafety is your responsibility, make sure that all staff are aware of the risks and dangers of being online.  Regular briefings with staff are a good way to do this, why not have a go at some of the online games or activities the pupils are using.


We work hard to keep children and young people safe in school, what can we do to make sure that parents are able to follow the same message?  One of the most difficult things is to get parents to come along to information sessions.  Here are some ideas to get parents involved:

  • Try arranging the session at different times of the day, just after they have dropped off their children, just before they pick up or in the evening.
  • Get children involved in the session, with drama pieces or presentations.
  • Suggest the parents’ association get involved too
  • theme the event to look at aspects of safety such as gaming (including time limits, age restrictions etc), current issues such as Facebook privacy etc


There are lots of examples online if you want to review your own or draw one up.  We recommend the London Grid for Learning documents to our schools; they are freely available for all, even those working outside London.  Have a look here – .  One of the key things to remember with your Acceptable Use Policy is that it needs to be signed by ALL staff, not just those who use a computer; it should be anyone who is employed by the school.  They represent the school and any inappropriate use of social media could damage the school reputation.  Have you also thought about how you get people to sign these?  Do you get people to sign the bottom of the sheet and then hand it back?  Who now has the copy of the rules that they are to adhere to?  Try to make sure what they have agreed to, stays with the user with a tear off slip or another sheet of paper.

Useful Links   –  Created by CEOP and includes areas for pupils, parents and teachers, including resources you can use in school.  – Has useful tips for parents about keeping children safe online at home.  – Includes useful ideas, for example hot topics for parents.

Safer Internet Day 2015 Competition

To celebrate Safer Internet day on 10 February 2015 Rising Stars are running a competition with an iPad mini as a prize.

To take part, they would like to know how your students will help make the internet a better place. Entries can be tweeted on the day with the hashtag #SOCCOMP or can be e mailed to:

Entries can take the form of a pledge – To help make the internet a better place, I promise I will…, or can be in the form of a recipe for a safer internet.

Resources to support this can be found on the safer internet site.

Deadline for entries will be Friday 13th February and the winning entry will be announced on Monday  23rd February.

Learning with Mobile and Handheld Technologies

As technology evolves we are ever more reliant on the use of handheld and mobile devices, yet what do we know about their impact on learning? While there is a lot of interest in mobile technology, many schools still aren’t sure how to best use it for learning and teaching. 

Learning with Mobile and Handheld Technologies by John Galloway, Merlin John and Maureen McTaggart shows the changes that are taking place within schools as a direct result of these emerging technologies, and contains case studies with accounts of best practice in a variety of settings including primary, secondary, and special schools, and learning beyond their boundaries. The book also explores themes of pedagogy, communication and affordances, collaborative learning, individual creativity and expression, self-directed and informal learning and outdoor education. 

For more information about the book and the authors please see their Learning With Mobile and Handheld Technlogies flyer. 

To order your copy and receive 20% off please visit before 31st December 2015.

Switched on Computing wins a BETT award for Primary Digital Content!

 We are delighted to announce that Switched on Computing has won a BETT award for Primary Digital Content!












Switched on Computing is designed to help teachers deliver the new programme of study for computing.

It was thrilling to hear that the judges were particularly impressed with Switched on Computing’s full inclusivity and accessibility. The judges of the awards commented, “Switched on Computing provides teachers with the step by step, unit by unit support that they need. It engages learners, reminds them of e-safety and is excellent value for money.”

The award was presented at Wednesday’s ceremony at the Brewery in Barbican, where hundreds of guests gathered to recognise the most innovative ICT products and companies in the education sector. Read the Rising Stars blog to hear more about the night at the awards ceremony.

Andrea Carr, Managing Director of Rising Stars explains:

“We are thrilled to have won this award. The Bett awards are judged by teachers who understand the importance of quality teaching and learning resources. Switched on Computing is designed to support teachers in getting started with computer science and 5,000 schools are already using it in classrooms around the country.”

Amanda Jackson, Penny Patterson and Dave Smith of Havering Education Services explain:

“We are delighted to have been part of the team involved in the development of Switched on Computing.  Our partnership with Rising Stars has benefited schools in Havering and beyond, assisting them to support effective teaching and learning in Computing.”

To find out more about Switched on Computing and hear why teachers and students love it, click here.

Need some extra help with Switched on Computing?

Rising Stars would like to invite you to their new series of Switched on Computing unit specific webinars, hosted by the author Miles Berry.

During these webinars, Miles will focus on five different units from Switched on Computing – giving you hints, tips and tools. It will also be a fantastic opportunity to ask him any questions!

For the new term they thought they would try something different  and they want YOU to pick the unit for Miles to focus on!

Vote now for your unit and sign up to join them for FREE webinar here.

London Schools’ Conference 2015 – 20th April

The annual LGfL London Schools’ Conference has established itself as a major CPD event in the schools’ calendar and continues to enjoy consistently positive feedback from attendees.

This year, to meet varying CPD needs, alongside the main conference, LGfL is offering a ‘Services/Technical Stream’, as a separate conference event in its own space at the same venue.

The LGfL broadband service is unique in that included with your school’s connection is a wide range of additional services from which some schools gain enormous value while others remain unaware of what they are missing out on. The purpose of the services stream is to allow ICT coordinators and support staff to become more aware, confident and in control of this array of services.

From taking advantage of MyDrive (a school-safe alternative to Dropbox™), or knowing how to tailor your Internet filtering policy to match your particular school requirements, or how to create a tighter policy for pupils and a wider one for staff – to learning how to save your school a lot of money by using Internet telephony – and much more, the Services Conference will be packed with useful information and guidance on how to make the most of all that your LGfL connection brings to you.

The Services Conference is entirely suitable for those who are less than technically super-confident. It is not a session for ‘technical gurus’, for whom a separate event will be offered in late June.

Once again, the main Curriculum-focussed Conference together with the Services Conference will be held at the Mermaid Conference and Events Centre in the heart of the City at Blackfriars.

Programme Features of the main Curriculum Conference include:

Keynote presentations :

  • Social Media: Risks, Opportunities and Obligations – Simon Finch, NGfL
  • The Future Workforce – Niel McLean, E-Skills UK
  • Digital Learning Futures – Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth
  • Inspecting Schools for eSafety and Computing – David Brown HMI, Ofsted

Plus a wide choice of break-out seminar options including :

  • Support for delivering the new computing curriculum – and how to create Apps!
  • Managing the risk of exposure to extremism and radicalisation
  • The latest and upcoming LGfL Learning Resources – Primary & Secondary
  • Esafety – SEND – Early Years – Lego – Apple – History – Maths – and more!

The delegate rate of £85 ex vat includes lunch and refreshments however this will be covered in full by LGfL thanks to generous sponsorship by our key supplier partners.

To review the programme and reserve your place at the conference, while places are still available, please visit on or after Monday 26th January when full details of all the break-out options to choose from will be published and bookings will open.

Clicker Regional Training Day

You are invited to join Jordan Butel for an in-depth training session on Clicker 6, and the new Clicker Apps for iPad, where will learn how to use the intuitive Clicker 6 wizards to create differentiated learning resources on any curriculum topic.

 DATE: Wednesday 11th February, Tuesday 17th March, Thursday 21st  May & Tuesday 23rd June

VENUE: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Islington, 60 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9LA

TIME: 9.30am – 3.30pm

PRICE: £150 per person

Whether you are completely new to Clicker, or want to brush up on your skills, this session will take you all the way through the basics to advanced use, ensuring that you can use Clicker effectively on a day-to-day basis in your classroom. 

We will then take a look at our fantastic range of Clicker Apps. Combining Clicker 6 with the apps will enable you to support literacy across the school anywhere, anytime. Each app focuses on one key aspect of Clicker 6 and has a child-friendly, designed-for-touch interface perfectly suited to learners across the primary age range.

Delegates will receive lunch, refreshments throughout the day and a free memory stick full of Clicker resources as well as a copy of our printed training materials to take back to school.

All you will need to do is book a place and turn up on the day – laptops and iPads will be provided.

 For further information and/or to book a place please contact Jordan Butel                                        t: 01604 671691   e:

Join Switched on Computing Research and Discussion Group

Rising Stars are looking for ICT co-ordinators who have regularly been using Switched on Computing to join them for a day’s session in central London, where they will be looking at the resource in detail and discussing what they could do to make it even better!

Where: Central London

When:   Monday 16th February 2015

Time:    11am – 3pm

Selected delegates will receive a fee, travel expenses, lunch and free materials in return for their brain power and time! Please note that places are limited to one teacher per school.

To sign-up: Simply enter your details here

Collaboration Through Technology is at the Heart of Improvement at Benhurst Primary School

When Ofsted evaluated Benhurst Primary School as “requiring improvement” in 2012, it was widely recognized that the school needed a change of direction.

Head teacher David Denchfield and the leadership team began work in 2013 to bring forward a new plan – a clear vision that would raise standards but also embrace their diverse learning community, awaken the passions and interests of children and create learning with a sense of fun. “In 2013, Benhurst did not have a sufficiently adequate ICT provision which enhanced the quality of teaching and move learning forward. We developed a three-year vision for our school to ensure we maximized every opportunity for our children and staff,” outlined Mr. Denchfield.

What are the top priorities for Benhurst?

  • Enhanced, extended cross-curricular learning for sustained, accelerated progress
  • A wide range of technologies embedded in classrooms, both new and established
  • High quality skills-based curriculum to ensure success for all
  • Relevant ICT knowledge imparted for life skills, including computing and coding skills
  • Responsible users of ICT, in particular the Internet
  • Continued high quality staff CPD
  • Fun, engaging and inclusive learning!

Central to the vision was an “open door” culture to provide parents with a greater understanding of their child’s education. They wanted to better engage learners and cultivate a deeper trust in the activities at school – a true learning community.

“We redesigned and launched the school website which provides relevant and up-to-date information for our children, parents and wider community. In April 2014, Benhurst started a Twitter account to showcase our children’s excellent work and provide an informal method of communicating with our stakeholders. Last month, we also opened a You Tube account which we use to demonstrate key mathematical strategies. This has proved very popular and we plan to develop this further this year and introduce new subjects to support our parents and children at home.” – David Denchfield

The school’s culture is now more collaborative, where children take greater ownership over their learning, with the focus on facilitating cross-curricular, question-based learning – working towards individual goals within the framework of the National Curriculum.

The focus of the ICT program is aligned to the new school philosophy. They employ a mix front of room technology (interactive projectors) and a school supply of 32 iPads. There are also six laptops per classroom dedicated for children’s use and the school also recently implemented Google Apps for Education.

Teacher Stella McCarthy agreed to pilot SMART amp software which leverages Google Cloud Services and empowers pupils to collaborate with devices in self-directed, peer-collaborative spaces. Early lessons during the pilot have focused on brainstorms, collaborative writing and validating statements with child-friendly research resources at the ready.

To find out what Stella discovered and the year 3 children in her class thought please read the full article.