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Date: May/June 2007 Volume 8, Number 4


The Editor - Blogging  and Web 2.0

Using mobile tech to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children more

Free Online Safety CDs from Childnet for children, young people, parents etc more

Headteacher cycles up Everest!!  more

Review of RightLevel assessment of KS1/2 ICT more 

RM's Community Connect and free Primary Seminars more

Interesting Stuff - blog tools for you and sending files via internet  more

Editors notes:

Web 2.0 is here! When I first heard about it I thought it was some sort of new software or browser but no, it's all about interactivity. Web 1.0 was static content in websites but  Web 2.0 is about social networking and sharing the lurve.

I got asked a question via email the other week:

"I would like to start a web blogging project in my primary school and intend to use the year 5’s as guinea pigs.

There are obviously a lot of security issues to consider, so do you have any recommendations as to software or websites that are suitable for primary school blogging?"

My response:

Ola Chris!

I suppose it depends on how wide an audience you anticipate the blogs are seen by.

The danger is around children allowing more information out about themselves then is good for them but this has to be balanced with your work load, do you really want to read everything the children put online?

You may be interested in listening to this recording/presentation where a colleague discusses these issues among others. 


I would also urge you to take a look at www.think.com which is free. It is a walled garden only for the children and whoever they allow access to but it may be too restrictive in that the joy of blogging is the response you get from a wider audience.

Have a look and see what you think, I’d be interested in knowing. As you may know we have a newsletter and it maybe something you can share with colleagues.

Web 2.0 is here, but are our schools geared up for it? How can schools like ours, a construct of the Victorian era, cope with the fast moving, blue toothing, mobile videoing world of today?

Answers on an email please to...! 

The Editor md@icteachers.co.uk

Bridging the gap: using ICT to support mobile Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children


Ken Marks    k.marks@sheffield.ac.uk  

Schooling in the UK became compulsory in the 1880s and the pattern of local schools which has developed since is now firmly part of our mental and physical landscape.   We have all come to take the infrastructure of schooling for granted, along with the notion of ‘attendance’.   However, attendance and compulsory schooling have always remained issues for our traditional travelling communities, the largest of which are Gypsies, Irish Travellers, Showmen (the Fairground community) and, north of the border, Scottish Travellers. 


One fundamental issue is, of course, the mobile lifestyle itself.  Most Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children can attend what they normally call their ‘base-school’ during the winter months when their family is likely to be on a fixed site.   Many families, however, follow mobile work patterns and travel extensively for part of the year, especially during the period April-October.   This means that schooling is severely disrupted with a cumulative year-on-year impact on pupil progress.   Many families do try to link up with local schools whilst travelling, but this is all too often impracticable and sadly they don’t always get a positive welcome.


ICT has emerged as one way of beginning to bridge this learning gap by creating and supporting internet-based links between the families and their base-schools.  A series of e-learning and mobility initiatives (E-LAMP) has developed since 2003 with a research phase funded by the Nuffield Foundation followed by a series of important pilot projects mainly funded by the DfES and with recent parallel developments in Scotland.


Something of the order of 300 Traveller pupils, drawn form about 30 LAs, are now using laptops and datacards to link back to their schools and these young distance learners are able to exchange messages and work with teachers as well as keeping in touch with friends.   They also, of course, have access to the broad range of learning materials and resources available on the web.


The projects have proved very successful, especially in the primary sector, and the signs are that this approach can be consolidated to provide a firm inclusive basis for supporting children with a mobile lifestyle.   It has also proved a major learning exercise for teachers and schools as well as for the families, but the current emphasis on learning environments will hopefully mean that, over time, teachers will find the challenge of supporting independent and distance learning closer to their own (developing) school-based expertise.   Hopefully such school-supported developments will also become the norm for many other children whose schooling is temporarily interrupted.


These initiatives have also been important as they raise questions about the concept of ‘attendance’; currently, of course, also a focus within English school league tables.   The success of many of the children within the E-LAMP projects demonstrates that the essential issue is effective access to schools as learning communities, rather than physical presence.   Just possibly  Traveller children are playing a small part in blazing a different kind of trail; helping to lead the way towards some more radical thinking about the balance of face-to-face and e-mediated interactions  between schools and pupils.     The equation of compulsory schooling requirements with ‘attendance’ has been around since the 1880s.   Perhaps it is time for some more creative e-thinking?


Further information


The projects have been coordinated by the National Association for Teachers of Travellers (NATT) which is the professional body supporting specialist staff who work in LA-based Traveller Education Support Services (TESS).   Local TESS staff have also played a key role in supporting the base-schools which have been involved with the pilot activity.   Details of local TESS contacts can be found on the NATT website www.natt.org.uk


The DfES has recently (December, 2006) published a guide for schools based on

E-LAMP experiences of supporting young distance learners.   This is available at



The author of this short article is based at the University of Sheffield and has been responsible for evaluating the E-LAMP projects.    You can find further details about progress via the university website.  This is updated about once a term.  The latest version (February 07) is available at www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/02/73/58/elamp.doc


DfES policy adviser for the education of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children can be contacted at sheila.longstaff@dfes.gsi.gov.uk .  You can find out more about what the DfES Ethnic Minority Achievement Unit are doing to improve the achievement of minority ethnic pupils and those for whom English is an additional language at http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/ethnicminorities/ 


Free online safety CDs from Childnet for parents, volunteers and young people.

(This is a CRACKING resource, do NOT miss this - Ed)


Dear All,


Many of you will know that as part of the DfES 'Computers for Pupils' initiative launched last autumn, Childnet produced a special 'Know IT All for Parents' CD-ROM.


At that time many schools told us that supporting parents on E-Safety issues was becoming increasingly important. Many also asked why this resource was not more widely available to all schools free of charge.


Well, the good news is that DfES have supported Childnet in updating this resource and from Wednesday all maintained schools in England (both primary and secondary) can order bulk quantities of this CD-ROM FREE OF CHARGE for their parents and for use in schools from the DfES publications unit.


In addition Childnet has uploaded all the content onto the Childnet site at www.childnet-int.org/kia


In updating this resource we have made 3 important quality improvements:


a) There is new content presented by children and young people especially for their peers which both parents and teachers can show and children can use by themselves. See http://www.childnet-int.org/kia/parents/CD/  (click on 3).


b) There is a quick overview and summary of the E-safety advice for parents in 7 different languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Polish, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali and Urdu and British Sign Language. There is also a ‘text only’ version of all content. See http://www.childnet-int.org/kia/parents/CD/  (click on 4)


c) We've produced a separate section for Teachers on how they can use this resource with Parents, what other resources and advice is available (including from BECTA and CEOP) and how to use the sections for children and young people as 'stand alone' resources in the classroom or in an assembly. See http://www.childnet-int.org/kia/parents/CD/  (click on 5)


The press release will be uploaded onto the Childnet and KIA microsite on Thursday and this will give further details. However we thought that you might like a chance to review the content on the site in advance of this release. If you would like a complimentary copy of the CD-ROM please let Tamara know at the Childnet office at tamara@childnet-int.org and we will dispatch ASAP.


Finally, we are committed to evaluating the impact of this resource and working with other organisations to help ensure that this information is accessible to all parents, both in the UK and elsewhere. There is information about this at http://www.childnet-int.org/kia/about/promote.aspx


If you have any immediate questions at this stage, do come back to me.


With very best wishes,






Stephen Carrick-Davies

Chief Executive Officer

Childnet International





Dave Kitching, head teacher, cycles up Everest for Charity and needs you cash! 

In August this summer Dave K has set himself a very big challenge

“In the tyre tracks of champions…”

August 2007 GUIDE DOGS for the BLIND Challenge

500kms – 13000 mtrs of climbing – 6 days – on a bicycle


I have set myself a personal Everest next summer and I am asking if you would be willing to support me in that endeavour.

I have not raced for about 10 years but like all racing cyclists wish to emulate the exploits of cycling heroes and to ride the difficult roads where legends are made.

To ride the course of (or a small part of) the Tour de France is an ambition of many that enjoy cycling. Last year, in July 2006, over 3 days the Tour de France rode through the French Alps, over many high mountains, from Gap to Morzine. This summer it is my ambition and intention to follow that exact route but over 6 days.

I know that I have set myself a daunting and enormous task, I know just how much of a challenge, both physical and mental this will be. I have already started to prepare myself for this challenge, hence the recent participation in the early races. I know that it is very possible to fail in this endeavour and that I will be pushed to my limit.

This is not an entirely selfish venture. It is my intention to fulfil this ambition and to meet this challenge not just for my own satisfaction and vanity but also to raise money for a worthy charity at the same time. I have paid £100 to register with the charity GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND for this event and paid for my flight to Geneva, and part of my challenge to raise £1500 for the charity – in return they will organise this challenge for me and no doubt a fairly large group of other cyclists.

I am therefore asking if you would be willing to sponsor me in this huge challenge.

If you think that this venture is one that you could support I would be very happy to hear from you.


500 Kilometres (300+ miles) in 6 days. ……..not a particularly long distance but it includes……….13 major mountain climbs. A total of 13.195 metres of climbing (about 38.000 feet of climbing)

Day 1

Gap to Briancon 105 kms, 1 mountain climb the Col d’Izoard, an assent of 1575 metres

Day 2

Briancon to L’Alpe D’Huez, 82 kms, 2 mountain climbs the Col du Lautaret and L’Alpe D’Huez, a total assent of 1943 metres

Day 3

Bourg D’Oisans (at the bottom of L’Alpe D’Huez) to St. Jean de Maurienne, 93 kms, 2 mountain climbs the Col du Galibier (a hill 42.8 kms long and rising from 735 metres to 2646 metres!) and the Col du Telegraph, a total assent of 2071 metres.

Day 4

St. Jean de Maurienne to La Toussuire, 89 kms, 3 mountain climbs the Col de la Croix de Fer, the Col du Mollard and the climb to La Toussuire, a total assent of 3084 metres.

Day 5

St. Jean de Maurienne to Le Grand Bornand, 122 kms, 2 mountain climbs the Col des Saisies and the Col des Aravis, a total assent of 2542 metres.

Day 6

Le Grand Bornand to Morzine, 78 kms, 3 mountain climbs the Col de la Colombiere, the Cote de Chatillon sur Cluses and the Col de Joux Plane, a total assent of 1981 metres.

A small comparison for you to consider in order to appreciate the scale of the hills involved in this challenge……………On the Isle of Wight the steepest (perhaps) hill is from Ventnor Sea front to the top of St. Boniface Down - a hill some 5 kms long and rising to 230 metres. Steep but not very big.

If you think that you could support me I would be delighted to hear from you.
Cheques (made payable to GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND could be sent to my school address (and will be acknowledged).
The official Guide Dog for the Blind sponsor forms ask for:
Home address
Full postcode
Sponsorship amount
Tick here for GIFT AID
if you want to send that information with the cheque.
If you would like more information I would be happy to send it to you.

Thank you.

Dave Kitching, Headteacher, Shanklin CE Primary School, Isle of Wight, UK

38 Fairfield Gardens, Sandown, Isle of Wight, UK

Tel and FAX 01983 408842    email  dfkitching@portables1.ngfl.gov.uk



Review of Rightlevel

(I had an email after the last newsletter recommending this product and I challenged the person to say why it would be worth looking at.  Here's her reply. See what you think. Worth a look maybe? - Ed)

Dear Tim
I am an ICT coordinator at Sinai School in Kenton. 
About a year ago I attended a course on ICT assessment.  I came away from this course and thought there is no way I want to do this manually, nor do I have the time as I am sure you will be all too aware how overworked teachers are.  I looked at some packages that were available at the time and found that they were very difficult to use, very expensive and didn't quite do what I wanted.
My Husband, Marc is an IT Consultant who specialises in database solutions.  I mentioned the problem to him and within a week or so he showed me a prototype.  It took several months to turn the prototype into a user-friendly, secure, expandable system that has become RightLevel.
Last July I was asked for the levels for the year 6 pupils, I used RightLevel.  I imported the pupil data from SIMS into RightLevel.  It took me less than two hours working through the units for Year 6 to level each pupil.  When assigning a level to a pupil a help screen shows the task that had been covered, the expected attainment and level required.  Once complete the data was sent electronically to Brent.  
The final reports are very informative ranging from results of underachieving/overachieving pupils to whole year results.  There is another facility, which Ofsted were very impressed with when we had an Ofsted in February 2007, whereby one can search for an individual pupil to see a full details of the level they are at and what tasks they have done.  This report can be copied to word and discussed and edited with the pupil.  One feature that is very useful is that when levelling a pupil, the teacher and the pupil can include a feedback for each unit to show whether the pupil found it easy, OK or difficult.
RightLevel costs £250/year for a single licence or £600/year for a school (site) licence.  This incorporates upgrades and support.   There is no per-pupil cost unlike some other packages.
So that is the story. and although RightLevel is being sold via Imaginize, being ICT Coordinator and using the system for levelling pupils has proved beneficial to the school
Please let me know what you think.
Delia Levine.

Advert for RM's Community Connect 3 +  Free Seminars for Primaries

Do Less, Achieve more…

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Community Connect 3™, RM’s educational network solution can be measured against the highest demands. It meets these standards through an approach which together will take your school on the journey that helps you provide the highest quality of education imaginable.

RM have years of experience of designing hardware, software and network solutions specifically for use in schools. Building on the strengths of Microsoft® Windows® technology, the result is a flexible solution designed to provide the basis for continual school improvement. Now used in over 3000 primary schools, Community Connect 3™ creates an ICT system for the whole school community – a system that leads to motivated and engaging learning, every day, for every child.

An effective ICT infrastructure based on Community Connect 3 can lead to…

  • Enhanced access and sharing of information by senior managers, administrators, teachers, parents and pupils.

  • The ability to address some of the challenges of ‘Every Child Matters’

  • Efficient and effective management of the school and its resources.

  • Improved staff motivation at all levels.

  • Better quality teaching and learning.

  • High achievement and raised standards.

For more information on RM’s latest network offering, please take a look at the CC3 microsite for your sector (Primary or Secondary)

RM is also hosting a round of seminars designed specifically for primary education. The one day events will be looking at the effective use of whole-class teaching technologies, understanding the web generation and the latest in community connect. This is an ideal forum for ICT co-ordinators to keep up-to-date with the latest technologies without having to carry out the research – why not let RM do the hard work for you? To book your free place, view the full agenda or find out more please click here Hurry – places are limited so don’t miss out!

Interesting Stuff ...

Good sites for blogging courtesy of Stuart Sutherland:

Use of one of the following:


Wordpress - http://wordpress.com/ - is free has gorgeous templates and probably supports moblogging


Blogger – https://www.blogger.com/start - the Daddy – basic and free and supports moblogging -


Vox - http://www.vox.com/ - good photo album integration – also free


LiveJournal – http://www.livejournal.com/ - basic, decent and free and supports moblogging


TypePad - http://www.typepad.com/ - $4.95 a month for a corking tool


If you want to send files to yourself or others via the internet then use this free service:


It's fabby!


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This Newsletter is produced by ICTeachers Ltd
Contact: md@icteachers.co.uk
Copyright ICTeachers 2007