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.

Isolation can damage mental health.

The mental health charity Mind has warned that the use of isolation to punish pupils can potentially damage their mental health.

There have been increasing concerns about the controversial practice, with an investigation finding that hundreds of pupils had spent at least a week in isolation booths.



Now, Mind has called for the government to “urgently” give schools “proper guidance” about the use of seclusion and isolation.

Read more.

Welsh schools new curriculum.

Almost two-thirds of teachers at schools that have trialled Wales' new curriculum feel it will not benefit poorer pupils, a survey has suggested.

Only 30% of 600 teachers at "pioneer schools" surveyed by Cardiff University thought it would be beneficial.

However, 64% of 204 teachers at schools with higher numbers of deprived pupils felt it would help them.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said the new curriculum would "make learning relevant to them".

The new curriculum focuses on six areas including maths and numeracy, languages, literacy and communication, and expressive arts.


It is out to consultation until 19 July, with the final version due to be published in January ahead of a 2022 rollout in primary schools, followed four years later in secondary schools.

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DfE replaces teacher skills test.

The DfE has today announced it is to replace the existing skills tests on teacher training courses with a new system.

School standards minister Nick Gibb has made a written ministerial statement today in which he states: “I am introducing a new approach for assessing the numeracy and literacy of prospective teachers, which will replace the existing skills tests.

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One in 5 teachers would not work in low performing disadvantaged schools.

One in five teachers said nothing would persuade them to apply for a job at a low-performing disadvantaged school, research says.  

State schools in deprived areas are more likely to struggle to fill teacher vacancies which has a knock-on effect on the quality of teaching that pupils receive, a report from Sutton Trust suggests.


More than four in five (85 per cent) of teachers in the most disadvantaged state schools say recruitment issues are affecting the education quality in their school, compared to just 55 per cent of teachers in private secondary schools, according to report.

Read more from the report.

Boost for teacher career progression.

The Department for Education has set up a panel of experts to develop new professional qualifications for teachers in England, to help them progress their careers.

The panel will advise on the scheme, which is to be introduced during the academic year 2020-2021.

The focus is on those who want to progress in non-leadership roles.

But unions said there was a lack of transparency about how the experts were recruited to the advisory panel.

The qualifications form part of the teacher recruitment and retention strategy in England, which was launched in January.


School standards minister  Nick Gibb said the new qualifications would provide recognition for those teachers who want to develop their skills and progress their careers.

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More diverse GCSE texts.

Britain’s biggest exam board has added a more diverse set of texts to its English GCSE syllabus, following complaints about there being too many “dead white men”.

Edexcel, which is owned by Pearson, announced on Monday that from this September, schools will be offered more poems, plays and novels to choose from including those written by authors from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.  

Calls to “decolonise” the curriculum have been gaining pace at universities, where students have urged faculties to update reading lists. The move by Pearson is one of the first indicators that the movement is now gaining momentum in schools too. 

In addition to the works of William Wordsworth and Robert Bridges, the GCSE poetry anthology will include the Pakistani-born Imtiaz Dharker and Grace Nichols, who is Guyanese.

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Should Sats be scrapped.

The vast majority of teachers want the government to scrap high-stakes primary school tests such as Sats, an indicative ballot of members at the UK’s largest education union suggests.

Some 97 per cent of members surveyed said they backed the National Education Union’s (NEU) campaign for an alternative to the exams, which are taken by children in Years 2 and 6.  


The results of the indicative ballot, which surveyed 54,500 primary school members of the NEU, have been published on the day

Read more.

How do we get teachers to stay in teaching.

Teaching is constantly evolving, but what does the future hold for the profession? There are, of course, big challenges: workload being the biggest. “Right now there is greater scrutiny and accountability on teachers than there has ever been, causing such high workloads,” says James Zuccollo, director at the Education Policy Institute. “We found 20% of teachers saying they work 60 hours or more in a week. And that’s marking and admin, not teaching.”

That workload is linked to another problem: teachers leaving the profession. “I see, on social media, numerous examples of the unalloyed excitement and joy when a new teacher secures their first job,” says Prof Colin Diamond, professor of educational leadership at the University of Birmingham. “It’s brilliant to capture the energy and drive that they are bringing to the profession. But will they remain so enthusiastic? Record numbers are leaving in the early stages of what should have been long careers.”

Read more.

Schools shutting Friday afternoons.

More than 200 schools in England are cutting short the school week, or are actively consulting on it, because they cannot afford to educate their pupils for a full five days, according to campaigners.

The figure was revealed on the eve of a demonstration in Westminster by parents and pupils protesting about a crisis in education funding, which means a growing number of children are being sent home at lunchtime every Friday so schools can save money.

Organised by Labour MP Jess Phillips, whose son’s Birmingham primary is among those affected, the march on Friday afternoon will be attended by protesters from Birmingham, Brighton, Hove, Hitchin, Wiltshire, Stockport, Hastings and Leicester.

Read more.

Menopause lessons in schools.

A woman who fell into a "dark place" during the menopause said getting it taught in schools was "an important victory".

Diane Danzebrink, 52, struggled with the condition's symptoms, which were triggered by a hysterectomy, aged 45.

Her campaign to improve knowledge and understanding has led to the government deciding to add it to secondary school sex and relationship lessons in the UK.

She hoped it would boost understanding and help people cope.

What does the menopause do to the body?


Speaking of her experience, she said: "I fell in to a very deep, dark place.

"I was lucky; I had a supportive husband and family who got me the help I needed when I was not capable of doing that for myself.

"Since then, I have become increasingly aware of just how many women are not receiving the right support and advice at menopause, from their doctors, their employers and sometimes even their own families and friends."

Read more.


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