BBC’s Fran Scott to deliver the Gratnells keynote speech at the ASE annual conference

We’re delighted that we have managed to book BBC Science presenter Fran Scott to attend the ASE Annual Conference in January and present the Gratnells Keynote Speech on the Saturday of the Conference.

After completing her MSci in Neuroscience, Fran worked at the Science Museum in London where she discovered that enthusing young people about science was much more fun than sitting in a lab. She has since forged a successful career as a ‘science translator’ touring her live shows and appearing in several series for CBBC, BBC Learning and BBC Worldwide. As with all her work, expect an exciting, inspiring and colourful presentation!

Fran’s presentation is titled: Igniting the Imagination. In television you can have just 3 minutes of screen time to capture viewers’ imagination.  Having worked in children’s science TV for many years, Fran knows just how to do this, especially when it comes to Science. Here, she’ll share her top tips on making Science entertaining, whilst still remaining true to the subject, a skill that’s easily transferable back to the classroom.

We will also be showcasing our latest products. The recently-launched SmartCase is already proving a winner and is perfect for both primary and secondary school science kits. (Also for field work where datalogging materials and equipment are needed.) The SmartCase has been designed to fit into the same runners used on all Gratnells frames and trolleys. Also the new StopSafe runners will be unveiled. Drop by and take a look!

 

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The Association for Science Education Annual Conference 2015 runs from Wednesday 7 January  to Saturday 10 January at the University of Reading

Exceptional ideas and resources for science teaching at the flagship, four-day conference from ASE. Over 300 sessions dedicated to science education across all subject areas and phases, offering hands-on activities for the classroom and inspiring talks from the forefront of scientific research. Whatever stage you are at in your career, be inspired by world-class ideas for your professional development, with practical learning, sharing best practice and take-home resources. Certified CPD. Book now at www.ase.org.uk/conferences/annual-conference/

Gratnells’ sponsored keynote presentation will be Saturday 10th January @ 11.15am

 

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SmartCase Raspberry Pi cases for STEM ambassadors

We were delighted to supply Explore STEM – a leading STEM Ambassador program – with a set of 30 SmartCases which were specially designed to hold their classroom Raspberry Pi kits.

Explore STEM manages the Schools STEM Advisory Network and STEM Ambassadors Programme across Essex, Southend and Thurrock. They keep schools informed about high-quality activities they can access to enrich and enhance the STEM curriculum and enable them to use a range of STEM Ambassadors. Working with local experts, they provide tailored advice and assistance quickly and easily to schools and colleges across Essex by helping the delivery of enrichment and enhancement activities, providing STEM Ambassadors and helping Schools develop and provide after-school STEM clubs.

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This Raspberry Pi project was funded by the IET (institute of Engineering and Technology); a body which aims to promote the teaching of Science and Technology subjects in schools. Explore STEM approached us to create a customised STEM Ambassador SmartCase which could hold a complete Raspberry Pi kit. The kits were created with a special foam insert that can hold a whole Raspberry Pi starter kit for each pupil and the lid has a wallet that contains a keyboard so everything needed to set up one student is in a handy case. The initial feedback has been very positive with a lot of positive comments on twitter from the first picture!

 

Conversation spotted on twitter

We were delighted to spot this conversation on Twitter this week. ‘You know you’re a teacher when finding unused Gratnells trays and drawers at school is a personal highlight’ Actually we are the ones feeling like the proud parent!

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Educating the East End

We’re enjoying the latest ‘Educating’ Series. Educating the East End follows the day to day challenges of Jenny Smith and her staff at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow.  As always we spend as much time spotting Gratnells trays in the background as we do watching the stories unfold.

Starring Gratnells Trays!
Starring Gratnells Trays!

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You can find more information about the show here.

Times article on Wooden Furnitiure Manufacturer, Ambic

Although this article ran a while ago in the Times we have only just spotted it.  It’s a very interesting article about School Furniture Manufacturer Ambic Ltd who were facing problems with cash flow as their business is very seasonally biased to the summer holidays (as is ours).  Schools place orders at the end of the school year and then want their new products delivered in time for the new term in September. So additional resources need to be employed to meet the temporarily heightened demand. Ambic used a funding circle instead of a more traditional expensive bank overdraft to raise the funds for increased production.  An inspiring story and you can read the full article here 

It could almost be a Gratnells picture!
It could almost be a Gratnells picture!

Gearing up for Worlddidac

We are heading into a busy time here at Gratnells HQ – not least gearing up for the biannual challenge that is our Worlddidac stand.  Plans are afoot and we are having a double stand where we will be showcasing our new SmartCase and Callero junior range. Hopefully you will be familiar with these two launches already:

 

  • Callero is a range of stylish classroom storage specially designed for early years and junior education. This modular storage solution boasts a whole range of storage and shelving units. Callero’s sleek new design and colour scheme gives any classroom a modern, stylish look.
  • The SmartCase is our newest addition to the tray family – but it isn’t just a tray, it’s also a carry case. The answer to super-tough storage on the go, SmartCase is designed to safely store and transport all kinds of classroom items, from tablets and laptops to data logging equipment and school kits.

 

As with previous years we are offering our customers a free ticket to Worlddidac – and we are running a competition on our stand. This year we giving away a brand new Kindle Paperwhite in our on-stand competition. And you could be the lucky winner! Most of you will be receiving a letter or an email this week with more details but if not please do email me for a free ticket or more information.   You can find more information at http://tinyurl.com/worlddidac

 


I’ve already posted you a voucher which gives you a free ticket to Worlddidac Basel when you register online. The show runs in Basel, Swizerland from October 29 to 31 So please join me on the Gratnells stands D100 and D105. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

Gratnells joins the Made in Britain initiative

We are pleased to have signed up to the Made in Britain initiative.

Research has shown that many UK consumers want to buy British made goods –  but are confused about the origin of products sold in stores. In January 2011 cooker manufacturer Stoves commissioned independent market research which showed that half of those surveyed admitted confusion about which brands could still claim to be made in Britain, with international takeovers and moves towards Far Eastern production all contributing to an increasingly puzzled landscape. Two-thirds wanted an official seal of approval to show products made in Britain, while half thought British brands should bring manufacturing back to the UK. More than a third of those questioned stated they would actively buy British goods if it was easier to identify authentic made in Britain products.

In July 2011 and companies making products in the UK were invited to apply to use the logo and in November 2012 a committee was formed to oversee the marque and assist with the ongoing promotion of the campaign. In June 2013 the committee commissioned design agency The Partners to re-design the logo and establish a membership scheme for users of the logo.

 

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Any UK based manufacturer who would like to use the marque can apply at the Made in Britain Campaign website. Applicants will go through a verification process to confirm that their products are made in the UK and then will pay a small membership fee to be able to use the marque.

Boys will be boys

More Gratnells trays spotted on TV! We were (as always) delighted to spot some Gratnells Trays in a classroom in Channel 4’s Mr Drew’s School for Boys. The trays were the background to a fair amount of fighting and swearing as the programme showed Mr Drew (former star of Educating Essex) trying to improve the behaviour of a group of unruly 11 year old boys.

 

Gratnells Ltd cannot accept any liabiblty for injuries sustained in the vicinity of our products!
Gratnells Ltd cannot accept any liabiblty for injuries sustained in the vicinity of our products!

“Boys aged 12 and under are now almost six times more likely than girls to be kicked out of school, while 90% of young offenders were previously excluded from school.

Inspirational headteacher Stephen Drew from Educating Essex wants to help 11 boys whose behaviour is threatening their future by enrolling them – and their parents – in a residential summer school like no other. Mr Drew has been dealing with challenging boys and their parents for 15 years, but with the families living on site, this is a first.

With his crack team of behaviour expert Tracey Campbell and inspirational teachers Dominic Volante, Lindsay Skinner, Mark Grist and Ben Vidler, can Mr Drew get the boys to unlock their true potential before it’s too late?

And can their parents confront their sons’ behaviour and face up to their own shortcomings?”

The programme was shown on Channel 4 earlier this year and more information and clips can be found on the Ch4 website.

 

Buying legend retires

Not sure about the colours!
Not sure about the colours!

It is a fond farewell to Alan Roe who is retiring from YPO after many years kicking furniture manufacturers about. Alan has been one of our buyers and point of contact for most of my time at Gratnells. He will be missed. His retirement also coincides with the company’s 40th birthday. YPO is the UK’s largest public sector buying organisation, established in 1974 by local government authorities to help combine their procurement demands and hopefully achieve efficiency savings. I managed to get a slice of the birthday cake