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Knowledge economy

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In this week's issue, I wanted to share some papers about light and learning. I'm experimenting with formatting - this time, instead of putting hyperlinks in the text, the 'read more' buttons will take you to scientific papers and reports.... do let me know what you think?

Special Educational Needs kids are close to my heart - as a proud aunt and godmother of two talented young people with learning difficulties, I'm saddened but not surprised to learn they're twice as likely to have significant vision issues and 3.7 times more likely to be on out of work benefits by the time they're 27. That's a waste - for them and for us.

Creating an environment that supports neurodiversity is not only good for them - it's good for the bottom line - see these notes by Ernst and Young.

Visual discomfort is a problem for more than half of children with special educational needs.

And there is plenty of research to show that good-quality light can transform their ability to focus, to smile and to sleep. It even affects their ability to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Timing of light exposure affects mood and brain circuits.

And yet over 50% of schools are over 50 years old.

The government estimates that it will cost over £250 million to get the electrical installations and lighting to modern standards.

On a more cheery note, here is a transcript from an interview last week with Mr. Smith from Sneyd Park School in Kent. His school specialises in supporting children with hearing difficulties. He experimented with switching out tubes for higher brightness, 'cooler' panels while he added acoustic panels to reduce noise. The reverberation was almost halved. The kids - and the teachers - could finally hear themselves think. And now the whole school has followed suit.

The demographics and climate change are not on our side. We're going to need all the creativity, resourcefulness and resilience that these unusual young people have to offer. Perhaps it's time we went back to school to give this next generation a chance.