Return of fifth annual creative writing competition for children in care and young care leavers

Coram Voice has announced the return of Voices, the annual writing competition for children in care and young care leavers across the country.

The competition, which is now in its fifth year, will be open for entries from 12 December 2019 until 12 February 2020.

Coram Voice, a charity that ensures the voices of children and young people in and around the care system are heard, first launched the competition in 2016 as a platform for care-experienced young people to express their creative talents and to celebrate their voices.

Cranfield University takes ownership of new flying classroom and laboratory

Cranfield University’s National Flying Laboratory Centre’s (NFLC) fleet expansion became a reality this month with the transfer of ownership of its latest asset, a Saab 340B aircraft.

The University has been fundraising this year for a replacement to their aging Jetstream 31, which operates from Cranfield’s Global Research Airport. The facility is unique in the UK by providing aerospace engineering students from over 20 Universities and Cranfield with invaluable flight test experience as a flying classroom.

Further funding is needed to complete modifications to support the next generation of aero-engineers. Being larger than the Jetstream 31, the Saab 340B will accommodate more students on each flight. This will create new research capabilities, including potentially in collaboration with other universities. The flying laboratory also undertakes research projects testing the development of aerospace technologies and flight operations.

University of Bedfordshire academics launch new tool to help wellbeing of social workers

A new process to help improve organisational resilience in child and family social work has been launched by academics from the University of Bedfordshire.

Underpinned by 10 years of research into the wellbeing of social workers, Dr Louise Grant, Executive Dean for the School of Health and Social Sciences at the University of Bedfordshire, and Gail Kinman, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology, have designed the Social Work Organisational Resilience Diagnostic (SWORD) tool. This assesses the extent to which organisational factors and conditions support the wellbeing of their staff and promote optimum social work practice.

SWORD, which was co-produced with partners from across the Research in Practice children’s social care network, includes a diagnostic survey that will provide feedback to organisations and an associated workbook that contains targeted tasks and strategies to be used by social workers, leaders, and managers to support organisational improvements and promote best social work practice.

SWORD officially launched on Thursday 5 December at an event at University of Bedfordshire, which is the top ranking University in the UK for Social Work in the 2019 Guardian League tables. Alongside sector experts, Dr Grant discussed how the resource can be used to address some of the key challenges the profession is facing and how resilience can be built within organisations.

Applying to uni for 2020? Better look lively – deadline is 15th January!

As most schools and colleges are getting ready break-up for the Christmas holiday it’s important for students to use this holiday time wisely if they still haven’t applied to university. The deadline is 15th January for starting in 2020.

Studying a degree is a significant commitment and it’s a big decision. Over 20,000 don’t start their 2nd year so it’s really important to make sure you get as much information as possible over this Christmas break. So you can make the decision that’s right for you.

Applying to university can be daunting, and if you’ve put it off and put it off – you’re really going to have to look lively.

University of Bedfordshire Business School awarded Small Business Charter reaccreditation

The University of Bedfordshire Business School (UBBS) has been successful in its reassessment of its Small Business Charter accreditation.

The University is currently 1 of only 8 business schools to have achieved this accolade. The accreditation is a recognition of the engagement between UBBS, its stakeholders and many Small and Medium Enterprises within the Bedfordshire region.

The reaccreditation was presented to Dr Rhidian Lewis, associate dean Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Bedfordshire, by Lord Young of Graffam at the recent Chartered Association of Business Schools’ Annual Conference.

Trading sleigh bells for bike bells

Lower and primary school pupils across Central Bedfordshire are taking part in a Christmas challenge by counting up their walking, scooting and cycling journeys to school to see if they can travel virtually to visit Santa in Lapland.

The challenge organised by Central Bedfordshire Council in partnership with sustainable transport charity Sustrans, will take place between Monday 2 December and Friday 13 December and aims to decrease the number of cars used on the school run.

Almost 40 schools have already signed up to take part in this year’s challenge which also gives pupils the opportunity to learn about the towns, cities, cultures and Christmas traditions of the countries they visit along the way.

Using a record card, pupils and their teachers will monitor active travel trips to school. All journeys will then be combined with the goal of achieving 2,000 miles, the equivalent distance from Central Bedfordshire to Lapland. One lucky child will be drawn at random to win a brand-new lightweight Frog bike.

Tackling discrimination in schools

Following a pilot project at The Linden Academy in Luton, the Signpost Hub and Anne Frank Trust UK are to roll out a programme aimed at tackling bullying, discrimination and prejudice in schools across the county.

The programme is funded by Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway.

During the pilot year five and six pupils were trained to become peer mediators. Acting as mediators they resolved conflict or disruptive behaviour within the school environment.

Staff members were also shown how to put in place restorative approaches in the school.

A restorative approach focuses on repairing any harm caused. In schools it can be used to challenge the prejudice and discrimination found in hate incidents or bullying, before they escalate.

Dr Doyin Atewologun from Cranfield University wins Inspiring Board Leader award

Dr Doyin Atewologun, reader and director of the Gender, Leadership and Inclusion Centre at Cranfield University, has won the Inspiring Board Leader of the Year award at The Precious Awards.

The Precious Awards celebrate the professional achievements of women of colour in the UK.

Dr Atewologun was recognised for her work in highlighting BAME female board-ready talent in the 2019 Women to Watch supplement to the Female FTSE Board Report.

This was produced in collaboration with the Black British Business Awards and The Network of Networks BAME – Multicultural Chapter (TNON). It featured women from a range of sectors and from across the BAME spectrum.

The Female FTSE Board Report 2019 revealed that only 11% of women on FTSE 100 boards were from BAME backgrounds.

A woman wearing a graduation cap smiling and looking up at the sky. Education News from the Cranfield and Marston Vale Chronicle. Photo by Juan Ramos on Unsplash

Education News and information

The latest Education News, comment and analysis on local schools, including further and higher education in the Cranfield and Marston Vale area.

The Cranfield and Marston Vale Chronicle’s Education News section provides the latest news on the area nurseries, schools, sixth form and further education colleges, and universities.

The area covered includes Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Councils. Education News covers school performance, planning for population increases and school closures.