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for Christians working in education

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

Will schools be allowed to drop nationality question?

Privacy campaigners say the Department for Education is to drop the controversial requirement for schools in England to collect data about pupils' nationality.

The Against Borders for Children protest group had warned the information could be used to check on the immigration status of pupils.

Campaigners hailed it as a "victory" after a boycott and legal challenges.

The Department for Education would not confirm reports of the policy change.

    

But the Department for Education has declined to deny or confirm that it is about to shift its position.

Read more.


Young more likely to be lonely.

Young adults are more likely to feel lonely than older age groups, says a study from the Office for National Statistics.

The research found that almost 10% of people aged 16 to 24 were "always or often" lonely - the highest proportion of any age group.

This was more than three times higher than people aged 65 and over.

Researchers suggest that older people might become more "resilient" to worries about loneliness.

There has been growing political interest in loneliness as a significant social problem.

    

The prime minister earlier this year set out plans to alleviate loneliness and "social isolation" - with a warning that millions of people were suffering from a lack of regular contact with others.

The research from the ONS, based on a survey of more than 10,000 adults, found that about one in 20 people always or often felt lonely.

Read more.


Stabbings.

What's it like to teach in an area where many young people carry knives and have seen the victims of stabbings? Teachers describe their first-hand views of the knife culture among some young people in London.

"It's not a shock anymore. It's not a surprise anymore," says Angela.

"If something happens in the area, you hope it's not somebody you've taught."

She has been a teacher for 28 years and is currently a head of department at a secondary school in south London.

Last year, a former pupil was stabbed to death.

    

They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The killers included another former pupil, who still had a younger sibling at the school.

"I taught them. I knew them," says Angela.

"It's the worst feeling. It's horrible. They're not the typical cliché kids you know, in a hoody, wearing a mask.

"They're the same students I taught. Got their GCSEs," she points out.

Read more.


Student suicide rising.

The suicide rate among UK students is higher than among the general population of their age group, claim researchers.

The study, to be presented next month at the International Suicide Prevention Conference in New Zealand, has analysed figures for student suicides between 2007 and 2016.

But the Office for National Statistics cautions that "year-to-year differences could reflect change in the population of students across time as opposed to change in the risk of suicide".

There has been much concern about mental health worries on university campuses - but it has often been argued that suicide rates for students have been lower than the general population.

Read more.


Low skilled jobs rebranded as apprenticeships.

Fast food giants, coffee shops and retailers are relabelling low-skilled jobs as apprenticeships and gaining subsidies for training, a report says.

The study by centre-right think tank Reform says many firms have rebranded existing roles after being obliged to contribute cash to on-the-job training.

It adds that 40% of government-approved apprenticeship standards do not meet a traditional definition of them.

The government says "quality" is at the heart of its apprenticeship reforms.

As part of the changes, it introduced an apprenticeship levy on organisations paying more than £3m in salaries a year. 

    

They have to pay 0.5% of their wages total into a "digital account" held by HMRC.

They then "spend" these contributions on apprenticeship training delivered by registered providers. They can also get back up to 90% of the cost of training.

Read more.


160,000 children to miss out on Free School Meals.

Around 160,000 children will lose out on free school meals because of the way the Government is rolling out Universal Credit, according to a new report.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies claims the refusal to increase the £7,400 earnings cut-off point in line with the cost of living will see 100,000 children deprived of free lunches by 2022.

Read more.


Scarlet fever cases rise.

Nearly 900 cases of scarlet fever have been reported in Wales in the first three months of 2018.

Scarlet fever, also called scarlatina, causes a blotchy, pink-red rash and mostly affects children under 10 years old.

 

In rare cases it can cause severe illnesses like pneumonia, sepsis and liver and kidney damage but it is rarely serious and can be treated with antibiotics.

From the start of the year up to April 1, 882 suspected cases of scarlet fever were reported in Wales to Public Health England (PHE), which collects reports for both England and Wales.

Read more.


Families of autistic children should not give up on holidays.

Paddy McGuinness is encouraging parents who have children with autism to not "give up hope on holidays".

The Take Me Out presenter revealed he and wife Christine had finally managed a holiday after four and a half years.

"Being parents with autistic children, for us, family holidays have been a pipe dream until now.

"We managed two days there which for us is massive... we had to take so much stuff but to see our kids having fun was well worth it."

Read more.


Welsh children overweight or obese.

Action is needed to cut the number of north Wales children who are overweight or obese when they start primary school, a report has warned.

More than a quarter of four and five year olds in the region are in the category.

Betsi Cadwaladr health board has drawn up a three-year plan, including helping pregnant women to manage their weight.

But a health expert said being overweight was becoming a "social norm".

Just over 28.6% of four and five year olds in the region are overweight, including 12% who are obese, according to a report to be considered by the board on Thursday.

    

The report, "Children's health and wellbeing: The impact across the life course", said this was a problem which continued into adulthood in a "vast majority" of cases.

It warned: "Obesity in childhood leads to significant health issues across the life course, and some areas of north Wales have the highest prevalence of childhood obesity in the UK."

The report also found "considerable gaps in north Wales in obesity services to support children and families".

Across Wales, the Child Measurement Programme, published in August 2016, found 26% of reception-aged children were classed as overweight or obese.

Sioned Quirke, an obesity specialist and spokeswoman for British Dietetic Association Wales, said: "Published figures every year are showing an increase [in overall obesity].

"We are not even at the stage where they are levelling out.

"That's not surprising taking into account the type of patients we are seeing every day and the numbers being referred to us. The numbers are increasing every year."

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Wales cuts uniform grant.

A decision to cut a £700,000 grant which helps thousands of poorer families buy school uniforms in Wales has been criticised.

The Welsh Government's school uniform grant, available to Year 7 students eligible for free school meals, helped 5,500 learners last year.

But it has cut the scheme for 2018/19, as the cost of uniforms had "reduced".

The Bevan Foundation said it was a "mealy-mouthed" justification for a cut that would save a small sum.

Dr Victoria Winckler, the think tank's director, said the grant was "not perfect" but the decision to end it was a "surprise".

Read more.


 

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