ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

for Christians working in education

The life
A Christian perspective on society and the education industry for the Christian professional in education.

Lack of sleep harms academic development.

The study, carried out by the University of Leeds in conjunction with Silentnight, looks into the effect of bedtime routines and the impact on quality of life of 6-11 year olds.

Led by Dr Anna Weighall, a developmental cognitive psychologist with expertise in sleep research, this is the first major study to characterise children's sleep habits in the UK and has been conducted after consultation from more than a thousand parents.

The findings have revealed that 36 per cent of primary school age children get eight hours or less sleep a night and 15 per cent get seven hours or less. Such low levels of sleep are likely to have a negative impact on a child's ability to function in the classroom and reach key milestones.

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Children sexually assaulting each other.

Reports of sexual assaults by children on other children are rising, according to police figures seen by BBC Panorama. But those reported cases are only the "tip of the iceberg", according to one police child abuse expert.

Emily - not her real name - was 15 when she was sexually assaulted by a boy in her class, unnoticed by her teacher, who was at the front of the room.

But after reporting the ordeal to the police, she says she was bullied by her classmates.

"About 10 to 15 pupils were all swearing and shouting at me, like 'you're a grass'… I got some comments like 'he should have raped you'. I was tagged in photos. I was called a liar."

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Sexual assault in schools.

Rachel's daughter was raped by a boy at her school. He was arrested, bailed, and put back in his normal lessons, alongside his victim, the following day.

"Somebody who's been raped is already in a terrible place, but to be expected to be back in the same space as the rapist is just terrible," she told the Victoria Derbyshire programme. "It's re-traumatising - it's just a terrible thing to do to a rape victim."

The government says it is writing interim guidelines for schools to prevent schoolchildren being forced to share classes with pupils who have raped or sexually assaulted them, but campaigners say it is taking too long.

Rachel - not her real name - said her daughter's anonymity was compromised at an early stage - which made life especially difficult.

"Being in the same classroom as the person that's raped you is difficult enough, but when people in that room know what's happened and they're watching how you cope being in the same room as the rapist - that's just awful," she explained.

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The changing face of student loans.

Theresa May has pledged to overhaul student loans and tuition fees, which could lead to the fifth funding system in 20 years.

Among possible changes are freezing fees at £9,250 a year and raising the earnings repayment threshold for students who started university from September 2012 onwards from £21,000 a year to £25,000. 

However, the Prime Minister said the whole system would be reviewed, and a move to a graduate tax instead of the current system could remain a possibility.


Vaccinations lead to drop in early signs of potential cervical cancer.

The number of young women in Scotland showing early signs of potential cervical cancer has dropped by 41% since a school vaccination programme was introduced, researchers have said.

The University of Aberdeen study looked at women who had received the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.

It found 758 women were referred for further investigation in 2013-2014, down from 1,294 in 2008-2009.

The vaccinations were introduced in 2008 for girls aged 12 and 13.

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Childrens careers blighted because of "inaccurate" exam results.

Children are having their careers blighted because over a third of exam grades in certain subjects are "inaccurate", a leading headteacher has warned.

Chris King, chairman of the Headmasters' & Headmistresses' Conference (HMC)  has urged school leaders to rise up and tackle the issue.

Addressing heads of the world's leading independent schools at HMC’s annual conference in Belfast, Mr King said that there is “great uncertainty” that students are receiving an accurate grade in their GCSEs and A-levels.

“True to its word, Ofqual has begun to tackle this too,” he said. “But the size of the problem is unnerving and cannot be condoned by school leaders through silence.

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Gender gap in university places.

"I was never really put off by the fees," says Maya Little.

She is part of a surging number of young women beginning university this autumn, while the number of men going into higher education seems to have stalled.

When fees increased in England in 2012 to £9,000, demand for places carried on rising for women, but not for men.

The latest official figures show 55% of women entering higher education by the age of 30 compared with 43% of men.

The proportion of women pursuing degrees has risen from 47% in 2012 - an annual increase of 18,000 more individual female students.


But there are fewer male students starting this year than in 2011 - with the gender gap now at its widest ever point.

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Cambridge female college to accept applications from transgender students.

A female-only Cambridge University college will now accept applications from transgender students.

Murray Edwards, whose alumni include broadcasters Claudia Winkleman and Sue Perkins, had only admitted women since its creation in 1954.

It will now consider those who identify as female and, where identified as male at birth, have "taken steps to live in the female gender".

Transgender students applications are being considered for the 2018 intake.

It also said the same criteria would apply for those students that wish to transfer to the college during their degree.


The college council has approved the change entry requirements and said it wants to be an inclusive environment and "takes pride in our open and friendly community".

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49% of young people now go on to Higher Education by age 30.

Tony Blairs pledge that half of all young people should go on to higher education is within a whisker of becoming true as official figures revealed that 49% of those in England are expected to have entered advanced studies by the age of 30.

The government’s measure of higher education participation has reached its highest level since the introduction of £9,000 tuition fees in 2012, equalling the previous record of 49% since the annual estimates were first produced in 2006.

The figures show that the participation rate rose by 1.4 percentage points last year, thanks to a 10,000 rise in the number of those aged 17-30 going to university for the first time in 2015-16, including full-time and part-time learners.

The participation rate among people entering higher education immediately after leaving school also reached a record level last year, with more than 27% of all 18-year-olds going into higher education and growing at a faster rate than the increase in the population.


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Gender identity at boarding school?


A teenage girl is being allowed to sleep in a boys’ boarding house by her  school after she disclosed doubts about her gender identity.

Andrew Fisher, headmaster of “progressive” independent school Frensham Heights in Farnham, Surrey, said the girl and her parents had requested she be given a private room.

Read more.


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