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.

Students in financial stress.

 Students are suffering high levels of financial stress as they struggle to support themselves during term time following a real terms decline in the value of the maintenance loan and the rising cost of rent.

A quarter of students find managing their money stressful, according to a survey of 3,604 students commissioned by NatWest. Although most students receive a means-tested maintenance loan from the government to cover their living costs, nearly half of respondents (43%) said they had run out of money by the end of the semester, while one in three (32%) used their overdraft to cover their rent and household bills.

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Food bank use among children goes up 20% during holidays.

Food bank use among children during the school holidays has surged by a fifth in one year, according to new data which has fuelled concern around the impact of universal credit and other welfare reforms on youngsters.

Figures published by the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest food bank provider, show 87,496 food parcels went to children during the summer holidays last year – a 20 per cent increase on the same period in 2017.

 

More than a third of all emergency food parcels distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network go to children, but the charity said there was extra financial pressure during the holiday period for families entitled to free school meals during term time – with this summer set to be the network’s busiest to date. 

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Should schools ditch expensive uniform?

She says uniforms with school crests and logos can cost three times that of a generic colour such as navy, green or red.

It comes as discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl are advertising an entire uniform for under £5.

Ms Hardy told the leadership candidates: “I understand the importance to a school of ensuring that all children are well dressed and presentable, but I do not believe this requires students to dress in branded uniforms.

“Pupils can look smart and presentable in non-branded and generic school uniform items."

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Teachers priced out of parts of UK due to rent prices.

Nurses, teachers and other key workers are being priced out of parts of the UK after years of rising rents and below-inflation pay increases, a report has found.

Private rents are now unaffordable for workers on the median wage in London, the southeast, southwest and east of England, according to the report by the consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Housing is considered affordable if it takes up 30 per cent or less of pre-tax income.

 

The problem is particularly acute in London where rents take up 42 per cent of the average pre-tax wage. Young people and those working in certain key public sector professions, many of whom earn less than the average wage, are increasingly unable to afford living in the capital and surrounding areas, PwC said.

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Millions of public sector workers received a pay rise last year but it was not enough to make up for eight years of austerity measures when salaries shrank in real terms.


Domestic Abuse in the countryside.

A "deeply hidden and disturbing side to rural life" has been laid bare by an 18-month inquiry into domestic abuse in the English countryside.

Domestic abuse victims there suffer for longer, are less likely to report abuse and struggle to get support, it said.

Victims are isolated, unsupported and unprotected in a "rural hell" that protects the perpetrators, the National Rural Crime Network report found.

The government has just set out new plans to tackle the issue.

The researchers carried out 67 in-depth interviews with people who had experienced domestic abuse, and a set of separate interviews with those working in services supporting victims.

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Three in five suffer bullying.

Three in five young people have been victims of bullying in school and nearly a third (30 per cent) have been bullied online, survey suggests. 

The majority of children (53 per cent) say they are worried about experiencing bullying online, research by charity the Diana Award has revealed. 

 

The survey, of more than 1,000 children aged between 11 and 16, found that more than two in three young people find it easier talking about online issues with peers their age than with a teacher

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Air pollution.

Air pollution could cut seven months off the life span of current primary school pupils

  • King's College London researchers based report on air pollution in Birmingham  
  • Air pollution reduction policies could cost £470million in Birmingham alone
  • Study found that eight-year-old born in 2011 may die seven months early under current pollution projections 

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School holidays food hunger.

Money, food, childcare and activities are serious anxieties for low-income working families, MPs have been told.

Four mothers came to Westminster on Wednesday to tell a panel of MPs about their struggles to make ends meet over the long summer holidays.

They said holidays, even days out, were out of the question on a tight budget.

"Your mind is constantly thinking about money - money for the children, money for this, money for that," one of the four, Karen, told the MPs.

"You have to manage your money.

 

"Some weeks are worse than others.

"You've got bills coming out and other things and you are literally looking to see if you've got to add more money to a food bill.

"So, it becomes quite stressful, very stressful."

Dawn said: "In the holidays, you're spending more because your child's not in school and you're entitled to the school meals, so you're doing a bigger shop.

"And children need activities - you're spending more that way."

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Kings College London apologises to students over ban during Royal visit.

King's College London (KCL) has apologised and admitted it was wrong to ban a group of students from campus during a royal visit.

The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge visited the university's Strand Campus on 19 March to open Bush House.

One staff member and 13 students linked to campaigning groups were denied access to the campus, causing one student to fear he would miss an exam.

The acting principal said KCL's actions that day "did not meet our values".

Prof Evelyn Welch added that a report into the university's actions was "uncomfortable to read" and that the leadership team "apologise wholeheartedly".

 

The investigation found the university had breached its own policies regarding protection of personal information and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Following protests at university events on both 4 March and 18 March, police contacted the university's head of security to express concerns of an "increased risk" during the royal visit.

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Knife Crime.

England's knife crime strategy focuses too much on punishing the perpetrators and blaming gangs, a former top police officer has said.

Former Met Police superintendent Leroy Logan suggested the Home Office strategy was not fit for purpose.

It failed to take account of the fear and hopelessness some young people felt, with some not expecting to live past the age of 20, he said.

He told the Youth Select Committee only half of knife crime is linked to gangs.

The former superintendent of Hackney, east London, told the committee, made up of members of the Youth Parliament, he wanted to be "real" based on his 30 years of experience.

 

'Not about gangs'

"There's a correlation between violence and drug dealing, there always has been.

"But if you look at the data around knife crime you see that less than half of that crime is due to gangs or gang-related violence.

"So you have to say is the strategy being used by the Home Office and regional governments, like the Mayor of London's Office, and even local governments, is it fit for purpose?

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