That's a wrap for the summer!

Okay that's it for another academic year. One which I'm sure most of you will agree has been both unprecedented and surreal in all of its shapes and forms. Most technicians are starting to wrap up and get ready for the summer break and I sincerely hope that whatever your plans are over the summer that you and your family enjoy yourself and get rested for the next academic year - whatever it brings for the profession.

While TecHKnow will continue over the summer holidays, myself will be taking an extended break from the site. That is because I'm due to get married in early August. So, as you can imagine, my time is precious getting organised for the big day. I can tell you that after I get married, myself and my colleague "TheOtherSeamus" plan to do some upgrade and maintenance across the entire website. We will let you know more about that in due course!!

In the meantime, feel free to keep posting or join with any aspect of the site. If I get bored at anytime over the Summer holidays (or honeymoon), I can always drop by and say Hi to you. Until we meet back here in September. Good luck!! 




Join LabexpertUK at the SWELPS and the South London Technician Group for an action packed day of CPD on Wednesday 7th July from 0900 to 1530.

We will explore new and innovative ways to tackle some of the issues facing Technicians.

This online conference is being held on zoom and you will have the opportunity to hear from experts from all experts from all aspects of science. We have a series of workshops across the four sessions and you can select which learning stream you would like to follow

Join me for

Workshop E, Session 3 : Physics – tackling physics practical’s and equipment problems

Workshop F,  Session 4 : Labexpert Stock Control Software with Barcode scanners and label printers.

Booking costs £30.00 for the day.

LabexpertUK will also be delivering two sessions at the South East Technician festival starting the week of the 12th July 2021.

Monday 1300 – 14:30

The focus will be on chemical stores, their requirement, how to store chemicals plus relevant Health and Safety Issues. Are you clear on the record-keeping that is expected for chemical stocks?

Thursday 0930-11:00 Maintenance of Microscopes

Microscopes are expensive items of equipment that need regular maintenance. In this virtual session, you will cover the basics of servicing, cleaning and adjusting microscopes. As soon as possible, a second, hands son session will be offered to participants

If you would like to find out more about our products please visit our YouTube channel or or just give us a call, 07799504658 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., we will be happy to discuss your requirements.

Extending the School day?

Those who have worked in education for many years may be aware that the Government has been trying to change the structure of how UK Schools operate. They have largely been opposed by teacher trade unions and parents. However, has CoVid-19 offered to government on a plate an easy way to steam-roller through such plans?

Two dramatically different approaches to extending the school day are now being considered by government for its post Covid education recovery plan. (TES - 8am-6pm extended school day on the table 22/05/2021)

Ministers are weighing up whether they should opt to pay for a compulsory half hour extension with an academic focus or fund a longer 8am-6pm school day that would be voluntary. 

This “football” will no doubt be kicked about for many months ahead. The outcome will depend on how much funding for 10 Downing Street can secure from the Treasury, with a total yet to be agreed.

Whatever approach is considered, are we asking teachers and support staff to stretch the educational system and work for longer? What consideration would there be for current support staff to make changes to their contractual start and finish times? Would a voluntary arrangement today evolve further in time to something more permanent? Are such changes actually addressing the main issue relating to the disruption of pupils education due to CoVid-19 or a covert scheme to impose Governments strong desire to overhaul our education system. Its over to you!

Partnership Grants

Do you have a great idea for bringing research alive in schools?

Partnership Grants of up to £3,000 are available to UK schools and colleges to carry out investigative STEM research projects in their classrooms in partnership with a STEM professional from academia or industry. The grants are designed to help schools and colleges purchase equipment to run these projects. The scheme is open to both primary and secondary schools, including sixth form colleges. Schools outside of the UK are not eligible to apply.

For 2020, there has been a new extension to the scheme called Tomorrow’s climate scientists. This programme is funding schools who are specifically carrying out research into climate change and biodiversity. 

Due to COVID-19 the deadlines for the 2021 round have been extended. The first round of grant allocations will take place at the end of June with funding available to schools from September. The second round of grant allocations will take place at the end of November with funding available from January 2022.

To help teachers and STEM partners with the application process, free online training sessions are being run. Book now to learn more about the scheme and to receive tips about how to make your application stand out. Further dates for training will be available soon. Apply for this scheme here (More details)

Why fewer technicians means more work for teachers

Boosting technician numbers could improve workload for everyone – but how can it be done?

Science technicians are integral to their department. ‘Effective technician support comes in a variety of forms,’ states a recent report on the reduced technician workforce by the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER). commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

However, in their study, NFER reports that the technician turnover rate has been on the increase, rising from 15% in 2011/12 to 20% by 2014/15 and remaining at this figure ever since.

[Read: Why fewer technicians means more work for teachers - RSC]


Webinar: Optimise the Practical – Utilise your Glassware!

Timstar and DWK Life Sciences have teamed up to bring you a webinar around the topic of “Optimise the Practical – Utilise your Glassware!” – A guide to unlocking more practical experiments from your labware equipment, supporting conversations in the community with friendly, helpful advice.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday 12th May 1400 - 1500hrs BST and it will be conducted by Michelle Powner and Rebecca Underwood

By joining the webinar, you will also be entered into the Timstar and DWK Prize Draw, with a chance to win the following:

Prize One: QUICKFIT® Organic Chemistry Kit
Prize Two: Selection of lab equipment including Pyrex heavy duty beakers

Its one hour that you really will not want to miss. Find out more details and how to register here.....

The Philip Harris Rewards scheme

The Philip Harris Rewards scheme is back! To be part of the rewards scheme, all you need to do is order your science resources between 19th April 2021 and 30th November 2021 and Philip Harris send your rewards voucher to you in December 2021, ready for the new school term in January.

Accounts with net orders over £500 or £1499.99 (exc. VAT), will receive a £50 or £100 voucher in December 2021. Vouchers are valid until 11th February 2022. Voucher code can only be used once by customers who Philip Harris contact directly and to whom the letter is addressed.

The scheme cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. The offer valid until 11th February 2022 on orders over required value. @Philip_HarrisUK

Check out the details here for T&C

Longer School hours could be on the way!

Longer school days are predicted to be key to a 4-year Covid recovery plan due to be unveiled by the PM next month. The idea of longer school days (School year), shorter holidays is not new. It has been discussed in various disguises as far back as when the UK Government came into Power back in 2009. Only one in five Parents prefer longer school days according a Poll carried out by Ipos Mori. Indeed, parents would prefer to see more wellbeing support rather than longer school days.

Some leading thinkers believe that the Governments plan is a simplistic solution for a very complex problem.  It’s not just as simple as extending the day; what would it look like? Who will work with these students, how will this be funded? Another comment would these extra activities be optional or for all? If optional, then it won’t work as the ones that need it are normally the ones that don’t access after school activities.

It’s interesting that the idea should come up again now that Brexit has removed EU working hours’ directives. Almost as if COVID has provided an opportunity to do something the Government have long wanted.

If schools are to extend the school day, then funding will be needed to pay not only teachers for the extra hours but also the support staff. Will schools have to provide food for an afternoon break? Plus, this will affect our lowest paid workers, cleaning staff and maybe other support staff will have to work evenings.