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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.

Disadvantaged children.

It’s like giving some people a head start in a race and it’s your job to catch up,” says 13-year-old Kian in Generation Gifted. This month’s BBC’s series tracking social mobility through the lives of six teenagerspresented an honest, at times painful insight into the barriers facing low-income pupils.

Several had disabled siblings or parents and had to get by on benefits. Some were in temporary accommodation waiting for social housing, and others in cramped bedrooms without enough room to study. In one particularly moving scene, Anne-Marie – who dreams of going to university to become a criminologist – paused as she Googled the cost of tuition fees. Her mum had thought a degree would cost around £500.

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Don't scare children off PE.

hen I was growing up I routinely bunked PE lessons. I saw PE as optional – it was on the timetable, but no one seemed to care if you didn’t attend. PE was for sporty kids anyway, and I wasn’t one of them.

Times have changed. We now know so much more about the value of physical activity – for physical and mental wellbeing, to promote positive body image in women and girls, to help people with depression, to engender a healthy lifestyle from an early age, to sharpen concentration and academic performance, and even to tackle the gender pay gap (research shows that women who play sport are more likely to enjoy high-flying careers).

So why is PE still treated as if it were optional? And that’s not just by tearaway teens, but by schools themselves. New research from the Youth Sports Trust has revealed that 38% of teachers have seen a drop in secondary school PE over the last five years as a direct result of exam pressures on 14- to 16-year-olds.

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Trial of starting school at 10am for some GCSE pupils.

SOME GCSE pupils will start school at 10am in a trial to see if they perform better in lessons.

Researchers will examine teenagers’ sleep patterns to see what impact a later start will have.

Read the full story.

Literacy challenges leads to shorter lives.

Children who grow up in areas that have the greatest literacy challenges are also likely to live much shorter lives than their peers, a study suggests.

It argues that there is a “staggering” gap in life expectancy between those living in communities at the highest and lowest risk of literacy problems.

For example, a boy growing up in a place that is among the most likely to have literary issues has a life expectancy around 26 years shorter than a boy living somewhere that is among the least likely, the National Literacy Trust (NLT) study calculates.

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Teenagers spending habits revealed.

Girls start spending more than boys as they enter their teens and discover more expensive shampoo and make-up.

At the ages of seven to nine, weekly spending is higher among boys (£8.50) than girls (£7.50), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Girls' spending then overtakes boys' at the age of 10 to 12 and accelerates in the 13 to 15 age group.

While boys spent less than 10p a week on soap and cosmetics, girls spent £1.70 by the age of 13 to 15.

But the figures also show that the teenagers spent less than they used to.

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North Lanarkshire may feed children 365 days a year.

A Scottish council is planning to provide school meals 365 days a year to children from low income families.

North Lanarkshire Council said its proposal would help tackle "holiday hunger".

The "Food 365" programme would cover the 175 days of the year when lunches are not served in school.

If approved, the council will run a pilot project in the spring break and could then extend the scheme over the summer holidays.

Frank McNally, convener of education, said: "These proposals to tackle weekend and holiday hunger are the most ambitious in the country.

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Should school leavers be given £10,000 to continue studies?

School leavers should be given £10,000 of taxpayers’ money to continue their education, a study suggests.

It says that every young person in England, as well as adults who did not go to university, should be given state funding to use towards university tuition fees, or the cost of other qualifications.

The move would help to boost adult and further education, and encourage take-up of a wider range of courses, the research paper argues.

Such a scheme – dubbed a “national learning entitlement”, or NLE – would cost the public purse around £8.5 billion a year, the study authors calculate.

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Children unaware of food production.

Children have a "huge lack of knowledge" when its comes to knowing how and where their food is produced, the NFU has said.


National Farmers' Union Deputy President Minette Batters said the industry "believes passionately" about educating young people, and food production should be part of the national curriculum.


The comment follows research which shows children across the UK exhibiting serious flaws in their knowledge of food and farming.


A survey of more than 27,500 children conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) found that nearly a third of children believe cheese comes from plants, tomatoes grow underground and fish fingers are made of chicken.


Read more.

Last minute rush from EU students before Brexit.

A last-minute rush to study at British universities before Brexit closes the door may be behind a rise in applications from EU students, according to the latest figures for courses starting in autumn.

After last year’s slump in applications from European students in the aftermath of the EU referendum and widespread uncertainty over funding, British universities report an upturn in numbers received by January’s deadline for undergraduate entries.

The rise in international applications, including a record number from students outside the EU, helped disguise modest domestic figures showing a 3% fall in applications, the second successive decline following a 4% drop last year. 

Leading universities such as Warwick and University College London (UCL) said they had seen strong interest from applicants from the UK, EU and other countries, despite increased competition for students both at home and abroad.

Prof Seán Hand, University of Warwick’s deputy pro-vice-chancellor for Europe, said applications from EU students had risen by 10%.

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Sexual misconduct reports at Cambridge University.

Trust in universities’ ability to safeguard students and staff from sexual abuse will remain low until reports of sexual misconduct are in triple figures, according to Graham Towl, former chief psychologist for the Ministry of Justice.

The University of Cambridge has now passed that point, with 173 reports received through our anonymous reporting tool between its introduction in May 2017 and 31 January 2018. The start of an awareness campaign against sexual misconduct called Breaking the Silence in October 2017 prompted the second largest spike in reports.

Several other universities have introduced similar anonymous reporting tools, such as the University of Manchester, but Cambridge is the first to publish such a high number of reports.

We expected high numbers, and view it as a metric of success. It appears victims have confidence in our promise that these figures will be used to judge the nature and scale of sexual misconduct affecting students and staff, and to act on it accordingly.

Under-reporting of sexual misconduct is a problem generally, not just in universities. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center in the US, more than 90% of those who were sexually assaulted on campus did not report it. The charity Rape Crisis describes the numbers in terms of a pyramid. The wide base is the total number of incidents, reports of incidents are in the middle and at the tip are the few that result in convictions.

Read more.


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