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.

Should young offenders be sent to top boarding schools rather than locked up?

Not long ago, driving through a Warwickshire town looking for a residential school, of a kind, I drove past a group of pupils walking in a crocodile. The uniforms caught my attention – the girls’ skirts looked unusually long, flapping around the ankles, an eccentricity denoting privilege. The boys were dressed in suits, and they were accompanied by a master in long robes.

I shouldn’t have been surprised by these pupils from Rugby School – one of Britain’s famous, establishment boarding schools, home of the eponymous sport – I was in the town of Rugby after all. But the place I was looking for was a very different one. I’d come to Rugby in search of Rainsbrook, a “secure training centre” (STC) just a few minutes away, home to around 75 children – not so much boarders but young offenders sent there by the criminal courts.

The physical proximity of Rugby and Rainsbrook makes comparisons unavoidable. The first, founded in 1567 by Queen Elizabeth I’s purveyor of spices, is where the children of the wealthy go to be educated; the other, run on public funds by private security companies, is where the children of the poor go to be punished.

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Drop out rate on some Uni courses as high as 67%

Students paying £9,250 fees risk being failed by degree courses with huge dropout rates, the universities minister has warned.

Jo Johnson said the institutions urgently need to review the "value for money" of some courses after research by Sky News found withdrawal rates of up to two thirds.

Dropout rates per course are not published by universities, but according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act:

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Students take out Pay Day loans to afford luxury flats.

Students are taking out pay day loans to live in luxury flats in a bid to avoid poor standard accommodation, it has been claimed.

Since January plans to build about 3,500 new student rooms in Swansea and Cardiff have been submitted.

The National Union of Students (NUS) said many were struggling to pay high rents in a bid not to live in substandard house shares.

Property advisor David Feeney said the debt was "abstract" to most students.

In 2017-18 alone about 1,700 new student rooms will open in Cardiff, with the majority being studio apartments in high-rise flats in the city centre, including about 450 rooms in the tallest building in Wales, near the John Lewis department store.

A studio apartment in the Fusion development on Newport Road, with a cinema, private dining room and gym, costs £177.50 a week - or about £9,000 a year - while a room in a traditional house share can cost under £50 a week.

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Parents contributing to school funds.

Four in 10 parents are being asked to contribute regularly to school funds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a survey suggests.

Schools have often asked parents for contributions to a school fund at the start of the year, the Parent Teacher Association UK said.

Its survey of 1,507 parents found a third regularly gave to school funds in the last year.

The Department for Education said no parent was obliged to contribute.

It added that schools were forbidden from charging for education or materials provided during school hours.

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Thurrock pupils tackle extremism.

SCHOOLS IN Thurrock launched a ground-breaking project to tackle extremism as part of the Think Global Diversity Champions (DC) project.

Think Global Diversity Champions (DC) is a global education programme developed in partnership with schools. The DC programme brings a global perspective into education - teaching young people about sustainability, tackling extremism, human rights and world issues.

A group of 17 students from William Edwards and Hassenbrook Academy took part in this innvoative project which was based on a trip to New York, USA from September 4-10. Students explored the impact of 9/11 and learnt lessons on how to prevent extremism and radicalisation.

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Boy attends Church of England school in a dress.

A Christian family is preparing to sue their sons’ Church of England school after boys were allowed to come to class wearing dresses.

Nigel Rowe, 44, and his wife Sally, 42, removed their six-year-old son from the unnamed school after a male classmate was allowed to attend the primary school in a dress.

They intend to educate him at home on the Isle of Wight alongside his eight-year-old brother. The older boy was pulled from the same school - which has a uniform - a year ago when a boy in his class also started wearing dresses.

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Self harm on the rise.

Self-harm among young people is on the rise, with potentially devastating consequences. Karen Sullivan looks at the statistics and suggests what role schools can play to tackle this danger

There can be few acts perpetrated by adolescents (or, indeed, anyone else) that are as distressing as self-harm, and yet, fed by an increasing sense of isolation and desperation and the wealth of inflammatory material on the internet (leading, of course, to it seeming almost “trendy”), it is becoming a serious, growing problem that shows no signs of abating.

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Will studying abroad become more attractive post Brexit?

Studying abroad has long seemed like an attractive option for many UK students, and it’s not hard to see why. Along with cheaper fees, and the opportunity to learn a new language, it is the chance to experience a new culture, and leave behind the notoriously rubbish British weather.

But of course with Brexit on the horizon, this could soon be about to change. UK higher education made no secret of its desire for the country to remain in the EU – and during the campaign, vice chancellors from across the sector highlighted the importance of a remain vote – with EU funding and student recruitment implications the main concerns.

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Students run up gambling debts.

Some students have run up gambling debts of £10,000 or more, a Gambling Commission director has told the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Ben Haden said his organisation was concerned about the impact gambling was having on undergraduates.

Former student Matt Zarb-Cousin told the BBC: "One day I lost about £2,500 just on [gambling] machines. I came very close to taking my own life."

The National Union of Students said action was needed to minimise risks.

Mr Haden added: "Clearly with the raft of new students heading to uni at this time of year we should do more for the student population."

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The Gambling Commission is calling for more advice and guidance to help prevent students from becoming hooked.

Brexit fears for young people.

More than two-thirds of young people in the UK have an "international outlook" and many fear for their prospects once the UK leaves the EU, says a report.

Ipsos Mori questioned a representative group of almost 2,000 18 to 30-year-olds for a study by cross-party think tank Demos, for the British Council.

Overall, young people said they feel "overburdened" by responsibility and "multiple barriers", says the report.

Ministers said schools worked hard to prepare pupils for life in a modern UK.

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