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for Christians working in education

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

Polling stations and nativity plays.

Schools should not be used as polling stations in the general election, to avoid disrupting nativity plays and Christmas concerts, says Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

He has written to returning officers, saying there is funding available for councils to find alternative venues for places to vote on 12 December.

Mr Williamson says he wants to keep disruption "to an absolute minimum".

Head teachers have backed the calls to avoid using schools for voting.

The timing of a general election means it risks clashing with long-arranged plans for Christmas events in schools, such as carol concerts and nativity plays.

Read the full story.


Push for LGBT inclusive curriculum.

Ruth Hunt

Chief Executive, Stonewall

How young people see themselves, each other and the world around them is shaped by what they learn

about at school.

For every young person to be prepared for life in modern Britain, it’s vital that their curriculum reflects the

full diversity of the world they live in. When pupils are supported to understand diversity and celebrate

difference, they can develop accepting attitudes towards those who are different to them, and feel proud

of the things that make them different themselves.

This includes teaching about lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people and themes. While Britain has made

huge strides towards LGBT equality in recent decades, anti-LGBT bullying and language unfortunately

remain commonplace in Britain’s schools. A crucial part of tackling this problem is delivering a curriculum

that includes LGBT people and their experiences.

Read the guidelines from Stonewall.


Universities not addressing racism.

Universities are failing to address tens of thousands of racist incidents every year because they are in denial about the scale of the problem, the government’s equality watchdog has warned.

An inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that about a quarter of minority ethnic students, including non-British white students, said they had experienced racial harassment since the start of their course.

Of those, black students reported the highest rate of racial harassment (29%), followed by Asian students (27%) and mixed/other students (22%). Meanwhile, 9% of white British students said they experienced racial harassment, including anti-English, anti-Welsh and anti-Scottish sentiments.

The report, Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged, also found 8% of all students surveyed suffered racial harassment in the first six months of the last academic year, which amounted to about 180,000 students across the UK.

Read more.


Special Needs crisis.

Parents seeking support for children with special educational needs face unlawful practices, buck passing and a "treacle of bureaucracy", MPs say.

The Commons Education Committee said the government had set councils up to fail by upping parents' expectations while cutting council budgets overall.

Already stretched families were being torn apart, its report said, as they fought for their children's rights in schools, with councils and in tribunal.

Ministers say they are boosting funds.

The government has also commissioned a "root and branch" review of the system.

'Conflict and despair'

The committee found a generation of children and young people were not being given the support they deserved, branding the situation a "major social injustice".

The MPs said they had heard overwhelming evidence changes to the system, introduced from 2014, were letting young people down day after day.

Read more.


Schools in England have lost more than £2.8m after not enrolling thousands of sixth formers in English and maths classes.

Schools in England have lost more than £2.8 million in funding this year after failing to enrol thousands of sixth formers in additional English and maths classes.

Analysis of funding allocation data by Schools Week’s sister paper FE Week shows the government reduced funding for 139 academies, 42 school sixth forms and 24 university technical colleges and studio schools this year because of a controversial condition of funding relating to retakes.

Since September 2014 it has been compulsory for pupils who did not achieve at least a grade C or 4 in English and maths to continue to study the subjects during their post-16 education.

Read more.


Prisons have to have a library - schools don't.

Did you see the report on school libraries that came out last week? The headline facts are worrying, don’t you think?

Schools with a higher proportion of children on free school meals are more than twice as likely not to have access to a designated library space. One in eight schools has no library at all.

And employment terms for librarians and library staff fall below national standards, with low pay and little investment in professional development and training.

The first of these points is a familiar one. It’s as if there’s some law or commandment which stipulates that children who come from homes with the least money should go to the schools with the least money, too. The employment standards problems are also worrying: they suggest that there is no commitment from government that the specialised knowledge and practice of librarians is a priority.

Read more.


"Forgotten 16 year olds."

The Association of Colleges has today (14 Oct) released a new report on the first day of Colleges Week, part of the #LoveOurColleges campaign. 

Colleges are the natural home for young people who have had alternative learning experiences pre-16, to re-integrate these young people into mainstream education or work they must be funded appropriately, says AoC. 

AoC conducted its own research to demonstrate the role general further education colleges play in re-engaging those students with disrupted Key Stage 4 learning. The majority of pre-16 students no longer in school for a host of reasons may be educated in alternative settings such as Pupil Referral Units and alterative provision free schools or at home. However, there is currently no post-16 Alternative Provision. The main bulk of these students progress into general further education colleges if they are not already placed there straight from school. 

Read more.


Exercise during lessons.

School pupils who take part in physical exercise like star jumping or running on the spot during lessons do better than their sedentary peers, research has found.

An analysis led by University College London of 42 studies from around the world found that including exercise in classes had a "significant effect on educational outcomes" during the lesson, as measured by tests or observing pupils’ attention to a given task.

Typical physical activities during the lessons included movement to signify whether a fact is true or false, or jumping on the spot a certain number of times to answer a maths question.

Researchers looked at data from 12,663 pupils aged between three and 14.

Running on the spot


Around one in eight schools has no library.

Around one in eight schools do not have a library, with poorer children less likely to have access to one than their richer peers, according to a study.

Primaries are less likely to have a dedicated library space than secondary schools, and in many cases, libraries are being used as classrooms or meeting rooms rather than for their original purpose.

Campaigners are warning there is an “inequality of access and opportunity” that needs to be dealt with so all children can benefit from what a school library has to offer.

The study, based on a survey of 1,750 schools across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, found that 87% have access to a designated library space, meaning around one in eight (13%) do not.

Read more.


Home education.

Home education for many families is not a preferred choice but a last resort amid a breakdown in relationships with schools, Ofsted inspectors have warned.

Research by Ofsted found special needs, problems with a child's behaviour or wellbeing were the most common reasons.

England's schools watchdog says parents need better advice about the cost and responsibilities of home educating and should be made aware of alternatives.

The research was based on seven local authorities in the East Midlands.

'It's so scary'

As part of the research, the watchdog spoke to 16 local authority (LA) representatives for home education, 36 senior leaders in secondary schools, 23 parents and seven children.

"It's scary. It's so scary... knowing that you've got to do it. When you've got no choice because your kids are mentally suffering and you're going down a road you don't want to," one parent said.

"There's no help, not even paper," said another.

"There must be some kind of help because the minute you go down home education, you're on your own and that is hard," a third said.

Read more.


 

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