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.

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.

BETT 2016 Raspberry Pi

Tony Parkin gravitates to the more creative corners - and he found them at BETT 2016

One thing no-one ever said about the BETT Show is "intimate". Held in ExCeL’s vast exhibition halls, it feels like being in a giant international airport, complete with aircraft hangers. This year the impression was heightened by the presence of a United Arab Emirates stand looking exactly like a first-class airport lounge.

In total contrast, however, were the show's corner areas, changed from former no-go zones into thriving and successful elements of the main show. So what brought about this transformation?

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?”

Renaldo Lawrence with students

Hugh John hails Chelsea FC's innovative new tech camp for students  

The worlds of Premiership football and digital creativity are coming together for young Londoners from disadvantaged backgrounds, in a unique education project at the home of the Premier League Champions, Chelsea Football Club.

The Chelsea Foundation Digital Camp, led by teacher Renaldo Lawrence and Chelsea Foundation head of education Matt Mead, has been created in association with Chelsea FC Foundation, Wipro, a global information technology company, online learning specialists and computer graphics giant Adobe.