ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

for Christians working in education

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Items relating to the work of schools and colleges, including resources and training opportunities.

School culture and practice - supporting the disadvantaged.

In recent years considerable attention has been directed to how the attainment of
disadvantaged pupils can be improved. There has been particular interest in the
improved performance of disadvantaged pupils in London schools since the mid-1990s,
which has resulted in a relatively small gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils
and their peers in the capital compared to the more sizeable gap within other regions of
England. Research has examined the ‘London Effect’ from a number of different angles,
from the effects of policy initiatives, accountability and governance, to demographics,
pupil characteristics and workforce factors.
This new research report adds another piece to a growing jigsaw. The research is based
on two-day, in-depth, qualitative case studies of 16 primary and 7 secondary schools
across England, conducted between September 2016 and July 2017. Our analysis builds
on an established body of literature on school cultures and practices, considering a range
of factors spanning the intangible assumptions and values that teachers hold through to
the observable, concrete behaviours that emerge from them. We understand school
practices as emerging from a school’s culture; they are the most concrete, visible aspect
of that culture and allow insights into its constituent underlying assumptions and values.
The research provides an in-depth analysis of a set of school cultures and practices that
existing research has linked to positive outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. These
cultures and practices range from how schools support parents’ and pupils’ aspirations
and expectations, to the way in which they use data and evidence to monitor outcomes
and how they respond to the latest developments in research. Through interviews with
teachers, senior leaders and governors; focus groups with parents and pupils; and
observations of lessons, assemblies, meetings, corridors and playgrounds in each
school, we have been able to build-up an in-depth picture of variation and consistency in
cultures between schools, and the ways in which cultures influence practice. Further
details of the methodology are provided in the Introduction and in Annex 2.
The report categorises the cultures and practices in schools according to 11 themes.

Read the report.

Geography a force for broadening the mind.

The comedian and television presenter Michael Palin has praised the study of geography as a force for broadening the mind as fresh figures show a spike in take-up for the subject at schools in England.

The man behind travel shows including Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole and Full Circle says studying geography is key to understanding the world and “helping us to realise that we all share the same planet”.

Palin’s comments come as A-level and GCSE geography entries in England are on the rise. GCSE entries increased by 36% and A-level entries by 21% between 2012 and 2017.

In an interview with the Press Association, Palin said geography was a vital subject in the modern world, broadening minds and encouraging an understanding of different countries and cultures.

Read more.

Relationships and Sex Education for Special Needs.

There’s a coffee-morning atmosphere in the classroom at Oak Field School, Nottingham, as teacher Tom Hall sits with six teenage boys, offering stories, encouragement and light relief. This is a sex education lesson. Laminated “OK/Not OK” cards are scattered around the table which, along with illustrations of sexual anatomy, show actions such as “touch,” “cuddle,” “masturbation”. The boys do not smirk or titter, but point and sign: it is OK to cuddle your sister; it is not OK to kiss your friends.

“Is it OK at your age to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?” Hall asks. James, 16, says yes, with vigour, but something is playing on his mind: “Can you get married twice?” he asks. “You mean at the same time?” James nods. “No,” Hall smiles, “That might be a risky business.” It’s a lesson in love learned sooner rather than later.

Read more.

Girl pupils and STEM subjects.

A wonderful announcement relating to women in education recently went almost unnoticed. The world’s richest countries, led by Canada, committed more than £2bn towards the training and education of women and girls in the poorest. The Canadian government described it as, “the single largest investment in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations,” and it’s expected to directly impact the lives of eight million individuals and millions more in their families and communities. In this Year of the Woman when we celebrate the centenary of the right to vote, equal access to education is obviously vital, but in countries like our own, it’s not just about building schools and supplying books.

Read more.

Scottish exam rate stable.

The pass rate for this year's Higher exams was "broadly stable", Education Secretary John Swinney has said.

He was speaking on the day more than 135,000 pupils in Scotland found out how they had done in their National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers.

The number of entries for Highers and the proportion of students who received a pass mark both fell slightly.

Mr Swinney said it was "another very strong performance by young people in Scotland".

He told the BBC: "We've seen the number of Highers broadly stable and consistent in terms of the pass rate, despite the fall in pupil numbers who are involved in S5 and S6 within Scottish education.

Read more.

Ucas apologises after offering UNI places wrongly.

Thousands of students have received an apology from Ucas after they were mistakenly told that they had been accepted to study at a university in Newcastle.


An email was wrongly sent to more than 4,000 prospective students who had applied to Newcastle or Northumbria universities weeks before their A-level results were released and before their places had been confirmed.

Read more.

Student Loans company criticised.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has been accused of spying on the social media accounts of vulnerable students as part of an anti-fraud drive that resulted in some losing funding and dropping out of university despite no finding of guilt against them.

SLC made a random selection of 150 estranged students, part of a group recognised as vulnerable because they have no relationship with their parents and tend to be financially disadvantaged, and asked them to provide evidence that they no longer had contact with their families.

According to charity workers now supporting some of the students affected, if they failed to respond within 28 days with the required proof their funding was suspended and in some cases their social media accounts were monitored to try to find out if there had been any contact with parents.

Read more.

Class Teacher China



TLC International School

Dongguan, China

Position: Elementary Class Teacher

Contract type: Full Time

Contract term: Permanent
Suitable for NQTs: Yes


TLC International School is located in Dongguan, China and offers a program for Nursery to 12th grade. TLC is fully accredited with ACSI and has a student body of over 450 students from over 15 different countries. We are actively seeking Christian teachers to join our growing school in advance of the coming academic year which begins on August the 20th.

We are seeking Elementary Class Teacher who will:



  • Teach a class of 18 students.
  • Have the support of a full-time teaching assistant.
  • Teach Maths, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Reading.


  • Integrate Biblical principles and the Christian philoso­phy of education throughout the curriculum.





  • Be a part of a supportive and encouraging team.
  • Meet periodically with the Elementary Prin­cipal and other teachers to discuss any problems and make plans for the enrichment of the pro­gram.


  • Write weekly lesson plans and quarterly reports.


TLC International School provides: a good monthly salary, an allowance to cover flights and visa costs, medical insurance, assistance in finding suitable housing and daily transport to and from school.

Applicants should send a CV or Resume at their earliest convenience to:



Will relationships education reduce domestic violence?

As part of the new-style sex education curriculum, school pupils will soon start learning about healthy intimate relationships – which could help to significantly reduce future domestic abuse in the UK. In recent research we did on this issue we spoke to various professionals who work with victims of domestic abuse. One of them told us that they believe healthy relationships education needs to be “taught in schools from a young age”:

Read more.

Decline of "less important" GCSEs.

The decline of “mickey mouse” GCSEs has been revealed as figures show that the number of teenagers taking Media Studies and Home Economics courses has plummeted in recent years.

Meanwhile, traditional subjects such as History, Geography and English have seen a huge increase in their take up in English schools since 2014.

The shift towards “core” subjects follows the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc), a certificate that rewards pupils gaining five core academic subjects.

Read more.


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