Top Tips For An Effective Seating Plan

Top Tips For An Effective Seating Plan

3rd Mar 2021

After spending a few months teaching at home, many teachers and headteachers can be forgiven for not thinking too deeply about their seating plan.

However, with schools set to reopen for everyone, it is important to ensure you have figured out the right way to sort your educational furniture out and decided on the best way to arrange your class.

Your choice of seating plan can be an important part of making sure your students all fulfil their potential, so here are some tips for an optimal seating plan.

 

Set Up A Quiet Space

Not every classroom is large enough, however having a little quiet area for reading or simply to cool off or check out is important, especially since a lot of students have been away from school for a while and may get overwhelmed.

 

Make Sure Everyone Can See

Most classrooms have a digital whiteboard and a projector to use as an aid, and any seating plan you set up must allow everyone to see your presentation or visual aids without having to turn or twist to get into the right place.

 

Room To Move

Make sure that whatever room layout you use allows you to move around the room easily and be able to talk to individual students whenever they need one-to-one support. Set up your classroom as well to ensure that all students are in your eye line wherever possible as well.

 

Sorting Students

There are several ways to sort students when constructing a seating plan. Popular ones include alphabetical order, by ability or by gender.

This choice often comes down to which plan suits different teaching styles but a study from Montana State University found a positive link between high attainment for lower ability students without affecting high ability students using a mixed ability seating plan.

This is an option but to make sure it works effectively, include as much information as possible on your seating plans, such as expected grades, names, SEN information, medical needs and anything else that is useful to know at a glace when meeting a new class.

 

Know When To Be Flexible

The eternal dilemma in classes is how flexible you should be with your seating plan once it has been set up.

A seating plan can be important at first to establish behavioural expectations and stop some of the potential disruptions which can happen when students get to choose their own seating.

At the same time, however, it is just as easy to use a system to seat people together and end up pairing pupils who do not work well with each other at all.

Much of this can be solved by simply not firing and forgetting your seating plan once you start. See how it works at first, and allow for changes as you get to know your class better.

If they are working well and would be unlikely to be disruptive then allowing requests for swapping seats may work well or allowing far more flexibility for group work can be effective.

There has been a lot of research on the subject of seating plans but ultimately each teacher is unique in how they teach their class and some methodologies work far better than others for different students and learning styles.

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Proposal To Repair Footpaths In Kent Rejected By County Council

Proposal To Repair Footpaths In Kent Rejected By County Council

24th Feb 2021

Plans to create an emergency £1m to enable footpath surfacing and repair works to be undertaken has been rejected by county councillors in the region.

The decision made at the Council’s Budget Meeting (Vote at 1:15:00) saw the administration vote against a proposal to use money from the 2020-21 Covid-19 Emergency Grant to pay for it, despite concerns for the safety of the footpaths involved.

Over the last 12 months one of the primary reasons people could go outside in the early days of lockdown was to walk, and as a result of this Kent’s extensive walking routes became more popular. One estimation has claimed the visitor numbers have increased by 20 per cent over the last six months.

The unfortunate consequence is that this highlighted the deterioration of some of the routes, which not only makes them more expensive to repair and resurface but can cause serious hazards.

One councillor, Cllr Ida Linfield noted that some routes were impassible and she seriously injured herself whilst walking on a footpath. She noted that she could have sued the council for her broken knee.

As well as this, the particularly harsh frosts and flood weather have caused further issues to the pathways, with unpaved paths being a mire of waterlogged mud, to the point that walkers have been climbing over fences to avoid the muddy areas.

As well as this, entrances and gates have also suffered major damage as a result of the popularity.

The cabinet member for finance, Cllr Peter Oakford noted the amount of money available in the budget is not bottomless, and that £150,000 in cash had been allocated to keep the footpaths maintained over the next year.

One of the most concerning incidents in the Kent area involves a path in Aylesford, near Junction 6 of the M20. It collapsed in March 2020, with only half of the path still traversable.

Due to the damage being so extensive it has been estimated that the path will cost over £100,000 to fix, and has been put on a priority repairs list to be completed over the next few months.

 

What Causes Impassible Paths?

What makes a path impassible or dangerous to cross depends on what material the footpath is made of, as well as the nature of the ground underneath it, the weather and temperature nearby and other factors.

Most footpaths are made of asphalt or concrete, in no small part because these are hard-wearing materials which can survive large amounts of traffic for years and are exceptionally resistant to wear and tear when in one piece.

However, concrete is infamously very bad at expanding and moving with other parts of the ground, which can cause it to crack, sometimes in barely noticeable ways.

Once water can get into a crack, it freezes in very cold conditions, which causes it to expand and make the crack bigger. More water can then get in and continue the cycle until the concrete breaks into pieces.

This, along with slippery ice and growing vegetation can make for trip and slip hazards which can injure pedestrians.

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Govt Unveils Multi-Billion Pound Cladding Intervention

Govt Unveils Multi-Billion Pound Cladding Intervention

18th Feb 2021

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that the government will fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding in residential buildings above 18m high (six storeys), announcing £5 billion in funding for building safety.

A five-point plan has also been unveiled that will provide reassurance to homeowners and help bring more confidence to the housing market.

The move will ensure that funding is directed towards those highest risk buildings, with analysis of fire and rescue service statistics by the Home Office showing that buildings between 18 and 30m are four times more likely to suffer a fire with fatalities or serious casualties than apartment buildings in general.

To help residents in lower-rise buildings, which have a lower risk to safety, a new scheme has been announced to help with the costs of cladding removal for sites between 11 and 18m. The scheme will see no leaseholder having to ever pay more than £50 a month towards the removal of unsafe cladding.

Mr Jenrick also announced plans to bring in a Gateway 2 developer levy, which will be targeted and which will apply when developers seek permission to develop certain high-rise buildings.

A new tax is also due to be introduced for the residential property development sector, raising at least £2 billion over ten years to help pay for cladding remediation costs. It will make sure that property developers make fair contributions to the remediation programme.

Mr Jenrick said: “Remedying the failures of building safety cannot just be a responsibility for taxpayers. That is why we will also be introducing a levy and tax on developers to contribute to righting the wrongs of the past.

“These measures will provide certainty to residents and lenders, boosting the housing market, reinstating the value of properties and getting buying and selling homes back on track. We are working with lenders and surveyors to make this happen.”

However, according to the BBC, campaigners have said that this extra funding is “too little, too late”. The Grenfell United campaign group observed that residents who currently live in unsafe homes will now be concerned about whether their building will qualify for the funding or if they’ll be passed over once again.

And Labour said that the “arbitrary” height limit could lead to financial ruin for many people living in blocks below 18m. After the Grenfell disaster in 2017, many of the country’s tower blocks were found to be unsafe, which meant that there were thousands of people left facing huge bills to make fire safety improvements.

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M6 Motorway Fully Closed For Weekend Repairs

M6 Motorway Fully Closed For Weekend Repairs

12th Feb 2021

The M6 motorway has been closed for a second straight weekend to complete machine moving tasks and ensure structural work can be completed safely and efficiently.

The closure, as part of planned works to improve the motorway at Junction 19 near Knutsford extended to Junction 19 at Holmes Chapel and Junction 20 at Lymm.

The reason for this is to build a new bridge across the centre of the roundabout at Junction 19 and to lift the bridge beams into position, the motorway had to be completely closed at the junction.

A diversion using both the entry and exit slip roads was set up to ensure that the rest of the motorway was not disrupted, and a further alternate diversion route was set up along the A50, although this was not the first choice.

Initially, the diversion was set to use the A49, however because of flooding that affecting much of the north-west, the diversion was instead moved to the A50 at the last minute as an emergency measure.

The A49 was underwater as a result of the River Weaver bursting its banks near Acton Swing Bridge.

To make matters worse, the A50 then needed emergency roadworks itself due to a burst water main, which served to make a congested road even busier.

After this second weekend of closures, no further road closures are expected for the remainder of the construction, which is set to finish at the end of Summer 2021.

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What Are The Main Causes Of Road Damage?

What Are The Main Causes Of Road Damage?

11th Feb 2021

Tarmac and asphalt are typically long-lasting road surfaces, and some of our oldest roads are based on foundations that are over a decade old.

Despite this, asphalt does not last forever, and as they are huge surfaces constantly exposed to the elements, damage to the roads is inevitable, as can be seen by the potholes, alligator cracking and uneven surfaces seen on many major roads.

Asphalt surfaces are typically robust, and most damage that you see is often the cumulative result of a range of causes. If a road is damaged so much that it is unsafe to travel on, then road surfacing companies need to be contacted to either patch the road or replace the damaged surface.

Here are some of the main reasons a road may become seriously damaged in the first place.

 

Heavy Traffic

Roads are intended to make driving easier. However heavier vehicles can also put a lot of pressure on the surface itself. This consistent stress can cause weaknesses to emerge in the road surface, which as a result causes cracking.

This puts the cracked surface at risk of breaking off entirely and forming a pothole.

 

Water

Water is one of the biggest causes of damage for road surfaces and is the reason why tarmac seals and pavement preservation is needed to avoid significant damage to the road surface.

If the surface is cracked, which can happen over time or as the result of particularly heavy pressures on the road, water seeps in and weakens the base course layer, which causes depressions.

What is often an issue is that if that base layer is damaged, the road will continually have problems with traffic load and be more vulnerable to cracks and potholes until the road is completely repaved.

 

Sunlight

Asphalt as a surface consists of a binder which sticks the rock, aggregate and sand that makes up the surface together. Over a long time, ultraviolet rays can dissolve this binder, causing the road to more closely resemble a loose arrangement of gravel than a road.

Once the road starts ravelling, it is time to resurface.

 

Oxidation

Have you ever wondered why road surfaces are black when they are new and gradually become a lighter grey as they age? The reason for this is exposure to oxygen, which gradually breaks down the asphalt layer and causes the surface to be less flexible.

Eventually, the tarmac layer is closer to concrete than its original state and is more susceptible to being cracked under heavy loads.

 

Leaking Oil

Parked cars can sometimes leak oil, which in small amounts and cleaned quickly is not always an issue, but the longer it sits on the asphalt the more it will seep in and ruin the top layers, as well as being exceptionally difficult to repair or remove.

 

The Earth Itself

Despite how it may feel, the earth is consistently moving on tectonic plates, and this, along with earthquakes and other natural phenomena, can cause the surface under a road to shift and settle over time, which in itself can cause cracks, sinkholes and other major damage.

 

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