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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.

Why is ADHD more common in boys?

About one in 20 children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at some point during their school life. Interestingly, for every girl diagnosed, there are between three and seven boys who receive an ADHD diagnosis.

Children and adolescents who are affected by ADHD have difficulty with things like sitting still, organisation and concentrating on work. These and other symptoms often make the school environment hard to cope with, and have a negative impact on academic achievement, relationships, and future employment opportunities. Some children do grow out of their ADHD symptoms, but many continue to experience problems as adults.

Though medication has been developed to relieve the symptoms, little is known about ADHD’s exact causes. Our biggest clue has come from family studies – particularly those comparing ADHD symptoms in identical and fraternal twins – which have long indicated that ADHD is largely genetic. And recently, groundbreaking research has begun to identify the specific genetic risk factors related to ADHD, and to reveal the complexity of the condition. We now know that thousands of different genetic risk factors – including common variants in genes known to affect healthy brain development – collectively contribute to increase the risk of ADHD. But it is still not yet clear why there is a gender difference in prevalence.

Read more.

Parents fined £24m for pupil absence.

Parents across England and Wales have been fined about £24m for failing to send their children to school during the past three years, it has emerged.

A BBC investigation also shows some councils are issuing penalties at rates five times higher than the average.

Some parents say they now actively budget for the cost of fines when planning holidays.

While some councils admit they have become "stricter", they say they are protecting the education of children.

Between them, 155 local authorities in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland do not issue fines) issued about 400,000 penalties over three years. A further 19 did not supply data.

On average, 12 penalties were issued per 1,000 children - whether for truancy or for parents taking children away on holiday during term time - during 2016-17.

Read the detail.

Adults lack financial skills.

A quarter of adults struggle to work out how much change they should get in a shop and half cannot read a simple financial line graph, a study suggests.

The study, from Cambridge University and University College London, found "striking weaknesses" in adults' financial skills across 31 countries.

It says financial literacy is essential if consumers are to avoid getting into debt or being misled on money matters.

The report says the findings point to a need for "urgent policy intervention".

The researchers analysed more than 100,000 results from 16- to 65-year-olds from 31 countries (listed below) who had completed the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies test in 2011.

As part of this test, adults were asked four questions that assessed their ability to apply numerical skills to everyday financial tasks.

The researchers' analysis of these results said: "A substantial number of people lack the basic skills that are needed to solve everyday financial tasks."

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Extra 300,000 university places needed by 2030.

About 300,000 new places will be needed at universities over the next 12 years, experts predict, making the higher education funding model unsustainable.

A rise in the number of 18-year-olds by 2030 will push demand up by 50,000, the Higher Education Policy Institute says.

A further 350,000 places will be needed to keep pace with the existing growing participation rate, it adds, but other factors may reduce that by 50,000.

The government has set up a review of university fees and funding.

Read more.

Gender pay gap starts from graduation.

Women are more likely to be in work or studying after graduation than men, but earn less from the very start of their careers, official data indicates.

Statistics show female graduates take home about £1,600 less than their male peers a year after graduation.

Department for Education (DfE) statisticians said this gender gap continued and widened over time.

By April, UK companies with 250 or more staff will have to publish their gender pay gap data on a government website.

The latest DfE figures, which cover the financial year 2015-16, are based on data collected on a number of groups of students at different points after graduation.

Read more.

Are we listening? Mental Health Report.

This report describes the findings of our independent review of the system of services that support children and young people’s mental health.

Are we listening? cover image

The Prime Minister asked us to conduct a review of quality and access across the system of mental health services for children and young people. This report marks the second phase of that review. Read the report from phase one.

The report draws on evidence gathered from fieldwork in 10 health and wellbeing board areas in England.

What we did

We spoke with staff working across these different parts of the system, and to children, young people, parents, families and carers who use their services.

Read the report.

Equal profession for women teachers.

The National Education Union is marking International Women’s Day and the TUC's Women's Pay Day by challenging the Government to take action to make teaching a genuinely equal profession for women teachers.



Teaching is a predominantly female profession, yet women teachers suffer from the gender pay gap in addition to the burdens of unpaid overtime and the public sector pay cap.

The gender pay gap in teaching exists despite legislation to protect women from unlawful discrimination:

  • The average pay for all women teachers is £2,900 less than for their male counterparts (£37,700 compared to £40,660).[1]
  • The pay gap is, however, far wider for teachers in leadership positions. On average, women head teachers earn £5,700 less than their male counterparts [2].
  • The gender pay gap among leadership teachers also varies according to age group. On average, women head teachers aged under 40 earn £5,400 less than their male counterparts, those in their 40s earn £7,700 less, those in their 50s earn £11,300 less and those aged 60 or over earn £13,500 less; this represents a 16% pay gap. [3]
  • A third of teachers absent for all or part of the 2016-17 school year due to pregnancy or maternity who were eligible for progression and knew their outcome, had been denied it. More than half (61%) of such teachers said that they had been specifically told that they had been denied progression because of their absence. Maternity and pregnancy discrimination is unlawful.

Read more.

Academics on "poverty wages"?

Could you cope with eight different jobs a week? Alice did it last year trying to make ends meet.

It's not the lifestyle you imagine for a highly educated associate lecturer.  

Insecure work isn't something you'd normally associate with the world of academia.

But that's all Alice, aged 31, has ever known.

"It's just exhausting. You've got no security. And you've always got to be scouting for work for the next term or academic year.


"Financially, it's impossible. In terms of the future, friends have houses, got mortgages, cars. I've no savings, living in debt and there's the impact on my mental health. I've suffered from anxiety and depression from my work situation."

Read more.

No qualifications at school but a success story.

Maxine Turner left school without a single qualification.

"But I knew I wasn't thick," she says.

She went on to get a teaching qualification and now she's running education courses trying to help adults without qualifications, without jobs and often drained of self-confidence.

Maxine is speaking at Mowbray Gardens Library in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where a group is gathering for lessons taught by the Workers Educational Association (WEA), the largest voluntary sector provider of adult education.

There are ex-miners here who haven't worked since the pits closed in the 1980s.

Read more.

Men arrested after rascist slurs in university accommodation.

Two men have been arrested after a video of racist slurs being shouted in university accommodation emerged.

Rufaro Chisango tweeted the video of the abuse which apparently included "we hate the blacks" while locked in her room at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) halls of residence on Wednesday.

NTU has suspended the "suspected perpetrators" pending inquiries.

Two 18-year-old men have been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences.

Read more.


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