United Kingdom: As Energy Costs Skyrocket, One College Becomes First To Adopt A Four-Day School Week

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In response to rising energy prices, a college became the first institution in Britain to implement a four-day school week.

South Essex College, which has locations in Basildon, Southend, and Thurrock, has revealed that it intends to shut down its classes every Friday in an effort to save expenses in response to recent increases in those expenses.

The institution, which offers classes to students ranging in age from 14 all the way up to undergraduates and adults, said that students will continue to get the same amount of hours of face-to-face instruction, with sessions taking place between Monday and Thursday.

According to the report, students who work from home on Fridays would be encouraged to engage in “independent study,” while instructors would be allowed to utilize the day to catch up on marking and administrative tasks.

United Kingdom: Schools Are Considering Implementing A Three-Day School Week Due To Rising Energy Costs And Stagnant Budgets

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Due to soaring energy costs and staff pay that are outpacing school budgets, several principals are contemplating cutting the school week down to three days.

In order to prepare for the next school year, principals all around the nation are convening emergency “crisis meetings” with their boards of trustees and governors. In some places, the price of energy is expected to go up by as much as 300 percent.

One of the country’s top academy trust CEOs recently said, “Shorter school days, fewer after-school clubs and enrichment opportunities, and draconian restrictions on energy usage will become a reality for all trusts, and the situation is particularly challenging for smaller trusts and standalone schools.” “This is not a plaintive plea of poverty. Nor is it the usual begging bowl moment ahead of a spending review – this is serious stuff. “

England’s per-pupil budget was cut by nine percent between 2010 and 2020. Even though the government has pledged an extra £7 billion for school budgets in England by 2024, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has cautioned that expenditure per child would still be lower than 2010 levels.

According to Dr. Robin Bevan, principal of Southend High School for Boys in Essex, “if a four-day week is not already being planned, it will certainly be being considered” by certain schools. In the absence of a long overdue above-inflation investment in school funding, it’ll become a realistic prospect sooner rather than later.

Dr. Bevan remarked that in order to keep his school running, he had to use some of the few funds on hand. The institution’s revenue will increase by £300,000, but its energy expenses will increase by £220,000. It will have to pay an extra £70,000 for teachers’ salaries, and it will have to find an additional $40,000 for administrative help.

According to Dr. Bevan, the future is “exceptionally bleak” since prices are increasing faster than budgets can keep up.

A Department of Education official stated, “We recognise that schools – much like the wider economy – are facing increased costs, including on energy and staff pay.” “Our schools white paper sets out our expectation that the school week should last a minimum of 32.5 hours – the current average – for all mainstream state-funded schools. Thousands of schools already deliver this length of week within existing budgets, and we expect current funding plans to account for this. “

United Kingdom: Teacher Fired After Lies Exposed, Faked Brother’s Funeral

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A teacher in East London forged medical documents and said she had to attend her brother’s funeral in order to justify her absence.

Dionne Bryan was a teacher for the incoming kindergarten class at Newham’s Portway Primary School, although she was often absent for extended periods of time in 2017 and 2018. Some of her explanations for being absent were found to be false, and the school launched an inquiry as a result. For example, her phone’s area code indicated that she was really in Kingston, Jamaica while she said she was in Florida or the United Kingdom, prompting the school to conclude that her assertions were false.

During the course of the investigation, the school discovered that she was not a qualified teacher.  She also made up papers from Dysart Surgery in Bromley that said she needed time off work because of a procedure. Soon, though, more lies began to unravel. The ‘order of service’ she provided for the burial was for someone who had not died, disproving her claim that she was travelling to Florida for her brother’s funeral, which was the reason she had taken another spell off work. Another fabrication of Ms. Bryan’s was that she had escaped marital abuse and was hiding out in Birmingham with the help of the police.

The school fired Ms. Bryan in October 2018, and in November 2019, the TRA panel concluded that the only appropriate punishment was a lifetime ban from teaching.


The following article is paraphrased from the following: Teacher fakes brother’s death to skive work before probe finds she not even qualified, Charlie Duffield, 12 Aug 2022, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teacher-fakes-brothers-death-skive-27728828

United Kingdom: Some Schools Have Turned To Homegrown Sourced Food Because Of Rising Food Prices

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Some schools in the UK are resorting to new strategies in order to continue providing students with nutritional meals despite the recent surge in prices.

According to Supply Management, a number of schools have started growing their own vegetables in order to complement the reduced number of catering contracts. Others are cutting down on the quantity of meat meals they offer on their menus and sourcing all of their products from nearby businesses. The decrease in meat in schools comes at a time when one third of customers in the UK are also reducing their consumption of animal protein owing to rising prices.

A number of factors, including war, general increases in commodity prices, labor shortages, and increases in energy prices, have had an effect on the provisioning for school meals.

Soil Association food policy director Rob Percival said in a statement that “school caterers have been warning for years of a growing crisis, and it has now, predictably, come to a head,” he said. “When caterers have faced years of underfunding on top of the current levels of inflation, this is wholly inadequate,” he said. A study conducted by the Soil Association found that 55.3% of educational institutions were unable to successfully renegotiate their catering contracts. The reason for this is that prices continue to go up exponentially.

United Kingdom: Nearly Two-Thirds Of School Lunches Contain Ultra-Processed Foods

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School lunches in the United Kingdom are loaded with highly processed foods that contribute to children’s bad health.

According to a study headed by Imperial College London researchers and published today in the journal Nutrients, “ultra-processed” foods are the leading source of calories for British primary and secondary school students.

Analysis of more than 3,000 children’s lunches between 2008 and 2017 found that 64 percent of the calories in school lunches originate from ultra-processed foods, which contributes to the ingestion of high amounts of processed foods and raises the risk of childhood obesity. As compared to school lunches, packed lunches comprised higher calories from highly processed items including bread, snacks, pudding and soda.

According to the researchers, public school meals (i.e. free school meals and those that children may purchase at school) are an essential mechanism for delivering nutritious food to children, particularly those from low-income homes. Policymakers and educators have an important chance to ‘level the playing field’ by enhancing the nutritional quality of school meals, according to the researchers. They say that immediate legislative reforms are required to limit the quantity of processed foods in school lunches and to enhance the availability of free school meals, which might assist to improve the diets and health of Britain’s youngsters.

Dr Jennie Parnham, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London and first author on the paper, said: “This is the first study to look at the extent of ultra-processed food content in school lunches for children of all ages. We need to view these findings as a call to action to invest in policies that can promote healthy eating. Owing to the current cost of living crisis, school meals should be a way for all children to access a low-cost nutritious meal. Yet, our research suggests this is not currently the case.”  She continued: “Ultra-processed foods are often cheap, readily available, and heavily marketed – often as healthy options. But these foods are also generally higher in salt, fat, sugar, and other additives, and linked with a range of poor health outcomes, so it’s important that people are aware of the health risks of children consuming them in high levels at school.  “As food prices continue to rise in the UK and globally, accessing affordable, healthy food will become more challenging for many more people. School meals should offer children from all backgrounds access to a healthy and minimally processed meal, yet they are currently failing to meet their potential.” 

Frozen pizzas, milk-based beverages, mass-produced packaged bread, and many ready meals fall under the category of ultra-processed foods (UPFs).

Consumption of these foods has been related to obesity and an increased risk of chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or even cancer in the past, according to study.

The UK has the greatest consumption of UPFs in Europe, according to previous study by the researchers. Research has shown that eating habits learned in infancy may persist into adulthood, putting children at risk for obesity and a variety of health problems.

They analyzed the diets of more than 3,300 elementary and secondary school students, acquired via the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, in their current research. The study’s goal was to determine the percentage of UPFs in kids’ packed lunches (food taken from home) and school meals (including lunches supplied by the school (free school meals) or purchased by students from the school cafeteria).

Researchers examined the calorie intake and the quantity of each food category in the diets of 1,895 elementary school students (ages 4-11) and 1,408 high school students (ages 11-18) as part of the study (in grams).

Across all age groups, UPFs accounted for around 75% of the calories in school lunches, with packed lunches accounting for 82% of the calories, while school meals accounted for 64% of the calories.

Nevertheless, the research indicated that secondary school students had greater amounts of UPFs (70 percent of calories) than elementary school students in school meals (61 percent of calories). There was a greater percentage of calories from fast food items, puddings, and sweets served in secondary school lunches.

Overall, children from lower-income families had 77% of their daily calories from UPF, compared to 69% of all other kids in the study (71 percent of calories).

Nearly half of the calories in packed lunches came from ultra-processed bread and snacks in elementary school, whereas just 13% of the calories in school meals came from these sources. Packed lunches included less calories from minimally processed fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products and starches (such as pasta or potatoes) than school meals.

Fizzy drinks, fruit juice and yogurt drinks are among the most common ultra-processed foods that contribute to a person’s overall UPF consumption. They believe that one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to increase the nutritional content of school meals is to replace these high-calorie, ultra-processed beverages with water.

Although this is the first study to include data from primary and secondary school settings, the researchers point out the restriction that secondary kids self-reported their dietary data whereas primary schoolchildren did not, however this most likely indicates that the magnitude of UPFs ingested by secondary schoolchildren is under-estimated..

Dr Eszter Vamos, from Imperial’s School of Public Health, added: “With the rising cost of living, many families are struggling to access healthy foods, and school meals might be the only opportunity for many children to have a healthy regular main meal. School meals are critically important in making sure that every child has access to an affordable nutritious meal.  “Children in England consume very high levels of ultra-processed foods, and it is worrying that meals consumed at school contribute to this. Our findings call for urgent policy changes to improve the accessibility and quality of school meals as this could shape children’s overall diets considerably with important consequences for their current and future health.”  The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), acting via its School for Public Health Research, is the organization that is providing funding for this research.

United Kingdom: TikTok Leads The Way As The Primary Reason For The Rise In Child Vaping, Study Reveals

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Gen-Zers are rapidly embracing newer, disposable e-cigarettes because of advertising on social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.

Costing roughly £5 apiece, they are more appealing to the younger generation because of their fruity flavors rather than their ashy taste and smell.

In a poll conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and financed in part by the Department of Health, 52% of vaping minors under the age of 18 claimed disposable e-cigarettes were their preferred product.

This indicates a significant increase in comparison to the 7% who expressed the same sentiment in 2020.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: ‘The disposable vapes that have surged in popularity over the last year are brightly coloured, pocket-size products with sweet flavours and sweet names. ‘They are widely available for under a fiver – no wonder they are attractive to children.’

Vaping is on the rise, and it’s being positioned as a “healthyish alternative to tobacco,” which is part of the appeal.

Despite the fact that it is illegal to sell the product to anybody under the age of 18, social media is full of postings from young people showcasing and discussing their favorite new vapes.

Pink lemonade, strawberry banana, and mango are just some of the flavors available, and they look significantly cooler than a package of loose tobacco with a rotting lung on it.

Mrs Arnott noted that more money is required to police the legislation against underage sales and that action is needed on child-friendly packaging and labeling.

‘Online platforms don’t need to wait, they must act now,’ she stressed. ‘The flood of glamourous promotion of vaping on social media, in particular TikTok, is completely inappropriate and they should turn off the tap.’

In March, YouGov conducted a poll of 2,613 youngsters, who answered questions on a variety of topics.

While e-cigarette usage among adults has expanded considerably, the vast majority of adolescents (84 percent) have never ever tried them.

In fact, the great majority of today’s vapers were formerly smokers, so this isn’t a foreign concept to them.  However, the research revealed that the percentage of children in that age range who are actively vaping has increased from 4% in 2020 to 7% in 2022.

The number of people who have ever tried vaping has also increased, from 14 percent in 2020 to 16 percent in 2022, according to a new report.

This year, for the first time, the study addressed young people about their knowledge of the product’s advertising.

Over half (56%) of those ages 11-17 had heard of it, with those who had already smoked a cigarette most likely to be aware (72 percent ).

Instagram and Snapchat came in second and third place, with 45 percent and 31 percent of youngsters naming TikTok as their primary source, respectively (22 percent ).

For the most part, the majority of underage vapers (47 percent) purchased their vapes at a store, while just 10 percent purchased them online.

‘The rise in vaping is concerning and we need to understand what lies behind it such as packaging, accessibility, taste or addictiveness,’ says Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction at King’s College London and author of an upcoming government assessment of e-cigarette data. ‘Our response must be proportionate given smoking is a much bigger risk to the health of young people and good evidence that e-cigarettes can be an effective stop smoking aid. ‘Government should ensure existing laws are enforced and identify where regulations could be extended. ‘However, this must be done alongside securing a much quicker decline in young people taking up smoking and helping more smokers to stop.’

United Kingdom: School’s “Inhumane” Toilet Restrictions Cost Parents £22 Per Child

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Parents at one school in Plymouth have voiced their disapproval of an “inhumane” toilet policy, and in an act of desperation, some of those parents are paying money to acquire their children a special toilet pass.

School officials at Marine Academy Plymouth [MAP] verified that students are prohibited from using the restrooms in class and must instead do it before and after school hours, during free blocks and lunchtimes. Toilet passes may be issued in the event of a “medical necessity,” as well as other occasions when cases are examined with parents “to ensure the best support plan is in place”.

There were complaints from parents who said the regulations had caused their daughters to be humiliated when menstruating. Even though Carol Courage, the mother of a 12-year-old girl, confesses that she is desperate, her daughter is still denied access to the restroom.

Carol blames the “inhumane” policy for her daughter’s urinary tract infections on the detentions she received for breaking the regulation (UTIs).

Parents of another 12-year-old student at the school, Dawn Shepard and Trevor Joyce, say their daughter, who has had UTIs, no longer wants to attend school.

Students at Marine Academy may use the restroom whenever they like, as long as they don’t interrupt a class, since their well-being and safety are always the school’s top concern, according to the school.

In order to get a bathroom permission from MAP, the parents of both girls claim they paid £22 for a doctor’s letter. They claim, however, that they must still wait for permission before using the restroom.

Carol told PlymouthLive: “Even if the girls are on their monthlies or anything and need to use the toilet, even if they say they’re going to leak, they’re not allowed to go. Well no, it’s human right to go to the toilet. “I get if they go in a crowd – that’s different – but if they are going on their own they are going to the toilet. It’s inhumane not to let them use the toilet. It’s not just me who thinks this, it’s hundreds of other parents who agree.”

MAP parents responded to Carol’s post in a Facebook group by saying they, too, were ‘discomforted’ by the limits on using the restroom during class time.

She added: “It’s got to the point where if my daughter wants to use the toilet, I have said to her to just walk out of the lesson and use the toilet. She is then put into a compass – a form of detention – for the whole day and then gets half-an-hour detention after school for using the toilet. “I have had to get a doctor’s letter which then costs you £22 from the doctor to say your daughter can use the bathroom. I’m not the only parent who has had to pay that.”

Although Carol has spoken to the school, her daughter is still going home “in tears” because she isn’t permitted to use the bathroom at school, according to one mother. Furthermore, she claims to have contacted Ofsted, where she was informed that it is the responsibility of the individual schools to implement their own rules.

“Urinary tract infections” (UTIs), as defined by the NHS website, are infections of the urinary system and bladder. One of the most common symptoms is a sudden or urgent desire to urinate, which may be addressed with antibiotics. As one of the pieces of advice for avoiding urinary tract infections (UTIs), the section on prevention includes the phrase “do not hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go.”

Dawn and Trevor report that their daughter dreads coming to school because of the policies in place.  “Our daughter has got to the stage where she doesn’t want to go school,” they said. “It’s horrendous. They should have something in place for girls Also to get a doctor’s note for our daughter, it takes ages due to the NHS waiting lists at the moment. “It’s a nightmare because she doesn’t want to go school because the biggest thing on her mind is not being able to use the toilets while she has the infection. She has the toilet pass now which means she can go – but still has to have permission and wait.”

Leigh Withers, Principal of MAP said: “As in all in schools, the welfare and safety of our students is always our first priority. Students can use the toilet at the start of day, break time, between lesson transition, lunchtime and after school. If there is a medical necessity to use the toilet at other times we discuss each case with parents to ensure the best support plan is in place and this may include a toilet pass. Also we do not have unisex toilets. “We will be welcoming our largest ever cohort of Year 7s which is a testament to the excellent education and care students receive here at Marine Academy. As a school we have had to expand our allowed number of entries to fit the demand of parents who seek a school with high expectations, an academic focus and the clarity of vision which at its heart, states that every child who joins Marine Academy should have the opportunity to go to university when they leave. “This year Marine Academy will see 80 per cent of its Year 13s moving on to University and the school will celebrate its greatest ever GCSE results that are likely to see it as one of the highest performing schools in the entire South West.”


The following article is paraphrased, the original article can be found here: https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/parents-paying-22-children-avoid-7306723

United Kingdom: Headteachers Warn That Educational Standards Are Under Jeopardy Because Of Recruiting Issues

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The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) polled 766 state-sector school and college headteachers and found that 95 percent of them were encountering challenges in recruiting staff, and 43 percent felt the situation was “severe.”

Seven out of ten (72 percent) school heads reported utilizing supply personnel to fill vacancies, with 69 percent indicating that they were employing teachers who were not topic experts in classrooms, and 31 percent reported raising class sizes to deal with the situation.

The hardest subjects to get into include physics, math, design and technology, chemistry, and computer science, according to the heads who answered the survey.

In addition, over two-thirds of school heads (65 percent) said that they were having problems retaining their teachers.

The ASCL attributed this to a lack of financing from the government, an “excessive” accountability system, and salary levels, which they stated were the main factors.

Schools in the majority (92 percent) said that it was difficult to hire support workers, leaving them with many unanswered questions.

The poll was conducted in advance of the anticipated recommendation of the teacher wage award for 2022/23 before the conclusion of the summer semester.

According to the Department of Education, there will be a three-year salary award of three percentage points, followed by a two-year pay award of two percentage points for new teachers.

After instituting a wage freeze for the duration of the currently ongoing academic year, the ASCL underlined the fact that this was “significantly below” the inflation rate of 11.7%.

Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary, said: “Teacher recruitment and retention has been extremely difficult for many years but our survey shows it is currently at crisis point. “Many schools and colleges are left with no alternative but to plug gaps with supply staff and non-subject specialists. “In several cases they have had to increase class sizes or cut subject options. The crisis extends to support staff where recruitment is also very difficult. “Teaching and support staff are the lifeblood of the education system. Without sufficient numbers, it is hard to see how Government targets to raise standards in literacy and numeracy can possibly be achieved. “In fact, despite the best efforts of schools and colleges, current educational standards may actually be at risk.”

Shadow schools minister Stephen Morgan said: “This chaotic, rudderless Government is sleepwalking into a crisis in teaching, draining talent from our schools and limiting children’s learning and development.” “Twelve years of Conservative government, two years of pandemic chaos and unsustainable workloads are sapping the passion that drives people to the profession. “Labour would put 6,500 new teachers in classrooms across the country and back them with the training and support they need to deliver excellence in every school.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Teachers are the backbone of our education system. That’s why we have proposed the highest pay awards in a generation for new teachers – 16.7% over the next two years – alongside further pay awards for more experienced teachers and leaders. “These proposed pay increases sit alongside our Levelling Up Premiums of up to £3,000 tax-free for teachers in high demand STEM subjects and access to fully-funded, high quality professional development, helping to raise the status of the teaching profession and make it an attractive career. “The number of teachers in the system remains high and there are now more than 456,000 teachers working in state-funded schools across the country, which is 24,000 more than 2010.”

United Kingdom: Healthy School Lunches Are Under Jeopardy Due To Scarcity Of Ingredients And Growing Costs

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The soaring cost of fresh meat, particularly beef, may force some schools to remove it from their menus, caterers have warned.

School food caterers’ organization Laca reports that some are using more processed foods, while others are switching from British beef to meat from foreign countries.

Most school caterers in England and Wales have reported shortages of food and a 20 percent increase in average food expenses since April 2020, according to a study of 170 school caterers. Fresh meat is in limited supply, and a number of caterers are contemplating utilizing more processed foods.

In over 80% of cases, catering companies have had to alter or restrict their menu offerings due to supply chain issues.  Jacquie Blake, national chair of Laca, said: “With families facing a cost of living crisis at home, it is even more urgent than ever that all children receive a healthy school lunch. This can only be achieved through sufficient support for the sector and we are calling on the Government to act now to ensure that schools are able to continue feeding children.” 

According to Laca, 40% of caterers are worried that they would be unable to satisfy school food requirements in the next academic year if government money is not ring-fenced.

“Really clear school food standards, which are all about healthy, nutritious meals for children while they are in school,” said Will Quince, children and families minister. “I recognise the global inflationary pressures that the school catering sector and schools are not immune from – that’s why we’ve put an extra £7 billion over the course of the spending review period into schools, an additional £4 billion of that this year,” he said.

Minced beef prices have climbed by 11 percent overnight in the last several days, according to Laca. In an effort to keep the quality of school lunches as high as possible, some school administrators say they are squeezing their budgets in other areas.

It is “not sustainable” for a school to keep food prices at the current level, says Paul Gosling, president of the National Association of Head Teachers.


The following article is paraphrased, it’s originally published by: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/07/04/food-shortages-rising-prices-putting-healthy-school-meals-risk/

Bullied In High School, A Man With Autism Went On To Aid Others Who Were Struggling At College

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Benjamin Morgan-Jones and his wife, Lowri, described their experience at school as “hell.” Undiagnosed autism, bullying at school, and a lack of academic assistance plagued the 26-year-olds at the time.

At the age of four, his parents were informed that Benjamin had a “learning delay,” but it wasn’t until he was 14 that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s, an autistic spectrum disorder. As a result, he felt he didn’t do as well academically as he might have.

In college, Benjamin, who had just two GCSES when he graduated from high school, retook the exams and went on to get a bachelor’s degree in teaching with a focus on child development and psychology. He hopes that schools are becoming more aware of autism, but he worries that they are not. Being “happy slapped” on a school trip, when his tormentors were recording his emotions as they struck him, was one of his lowest points. He stated it was only one of several instances in which he was tormented at Wrexham’s Ysgol Clywedog.

When Ben enrolled at Coleg Cambria to re-sit his examinations and BTECs in art and design and performing arts, things started to alter. Wrexham Glyndwr University in Wrexham accepted Benjamin after he received BTEC distinctions in education and childhood studies, which led to his PGCE in secondary teaching earlier this month.

He has decided that he wants to help other kids, particularly neurodiverse ones, who are having difficulty in their educational pursuits. At Wrexham Glyndwr University, Benjamin began helping other students organize their academic work and has now created Upgrade, a non-profit social venture to “reduce the IQ and achievement gap at university.”

Student pressure at Wrexham Glyndwr University is mounting as a result of delayed and missed education caused by the pandemic’s victims’ experience of bullying. The National Lottery Community Fund has given the former victim of bullying a grant of £10,000 (approx. 12,287.50 USD). Additionally, he has a number of private clients from throughout the UK, including several from the country’s finest colleges.  The children Benjamin works with aren’t being tutored in academics, but rather how to better organize and plan their tasks and identify any gaps.

To assist students in the preparation of their tasks, he leads them via online seminars on a weekly basis. When it comes to keeping on track and remaining organized, neurodiverse individuals face a number of challenges. “Some of the students I work with are neuro diverse, some not and others are not diagnosed yet. Because of the way my brain is wired I am a pattern spotter and can see what they need to go into more depth or different angles in their assignments.”

The company is co-managed by Benjamin’s wife, Lowri, who was similarly tormented in school and was only diagnosed with autism and ADHD at age 25 last year. The exhaustion of attempting to grasp societal norms As a teenager, Lowri stated she was on the verge of a breakdown at St. Joseph’s High School in Wrexham. “I look back on school with sadness. I feel sad for my young self and all the pressure to be normal.”