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.

What do students eat?

Rose harissa paste, organic cider vinegar and Swiss bouillon powder - ingredients needed for the "student store cupboard", according to one supermarket.

The assertion has led to predictable ridicule, with not even all five items on Waitrose's list combining to produce a recognisable meal for the £13 outlay.

Twenty-year-old Eleanor Gray, a third-year student at the University of Nottingham, tells the BBC the suggestions are "not very realistic" for those without a "large budget".

So what are students actually eating?

Catrin Stewart, 20, is in her final year at the University of Manchester and is currently food editor of the student paper.

Read more.

Fresh call for smacking ban in the home.

Smacking is harmful to children's mental health and should be banned, school psychologists say.

The Association of Educational Psychologists has tabled a motion to the TUC Conference calling for physical punishment to be outlawed.

Presently, although corporal punishment is banned in schools, parents can "smack" or physically chastise a child as long as it is deemed "reasonable".

Psychologists say there are many better ways of teaching right from wrong.

Member of the AEP national executive committee, John Drewicz, will tell the conference in Manchester: "Smacking is harmful to a child's mental health, it models aggressive behaviour and it says to them that it is OK to use violence."


He will add: "Sixty countries already have full bans, including Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Germany and Portugal, and it is time to make violence against children illegal in the UK in all settings, including the home."

Read more.

Scottish children "let down" on mental health?

The Scottish government has admitted that children and young people are being "let down" by the country's mental health services.

Child mental health has been a key priority for the government as part of its goal of making Scotland the best country in the world to grow up in.

But a watchdog's report has found that specialist services are struggling to cope with increasing demand.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said the situation was "unacceptable".

The Scottish government's target of having 90% of children and young people start treatment within 18 weeks of being referred to specialist mental health services has never been met since being introduced in December 2014.


Instead, waiting times have increased since the target was set - with 26% waiting longer than 18 weeks last year, compared to only 15% in 2013/14.

Read more.

How has life changed for 18 year olds?

Dubbed Generation Sensible, the 18-year-olds of today are much more likely to be found in the university library than the local pub, research suggests.

The Office for National Statistics paper compares their habits with those of 18-year-olds around the year 2000.

It might be an oversimplification to call today's older teenagers "boffins" and those at that age around the millennium "boozers", the ONS suggests.

But cigarettes and alcohol simply do not play as big a part in their lives.

Read more.

Students should be able to declare mental health issues on UCAS forms.

Prospective students should declare eating disorders and any history of self-harm under a new section on Ucas application forms, the head of mental health for Universities UK (UUK) has urged.

The university admissions process must be changed to encourage more students to tell institutions about their mental health before they arrive for Freshers’ Week, according to Steve West, vice chancellor of the University of West England (UWE).

Read more.



Mental Health issues and young people.

After the recent report by The Children’s Society that a quarter of 14-year-old girls have self-harmed, many campaigners have  called for the root causes of the adolescent mental health crisis to be tackled – rather than just firefighting the symptoms.

Resilience lessons, peer mentoring, awareness campaigns and provision of early intervention may be valuable initiatives. But they do little to challenge the main causes of mental health issues – which are likely to be integral characteristics of a neoliberal economy, including austerity, global uncertainty and a highly pressured education system.

Read more.

Children returning to school worry about bullying.

Almost half of children have worried about returning to class after the school holidays because of bullying, research has found. 

As 10m children return to school this week, a YouGov poll for the Diana Award found that four in ten children are so badly picked on at school it has affected their grades and left them frightened of putting their hands up in class. 

Experts warn that despite laws and procedures being introduced to stamp out bullying in schools, it has become "normalised" and remains a major issue.

Dr Elizabeth Nassem, whose research at Birmingham City University focuses on the topic, says that bullying tends to be oversimplified and those in authority seek to punish the individual rather than addressing the root causes. 

Read more.

Hoax bombs cause 400 schools to be evacuated.

Teenager's hoax bomb threats caused 400 schools in the UK to be evacuated and a trans-Atlantic plane to be quarantined, a court has heard.  

George Duke-Cohan, 19, was arrested days after his threats - carried out from behind a computer screen - resulted in thousands of pupils and staff having to walk out of hundreds of British schools in March this year. 

Weeks later, whilst still under investigation, he sent a mass email to schools in the UK and the US claiming that pipe bombs had been planted on the premises.

Then on August 9, the hacker group known as Apophis Squad claimed on their Twitter page that flight UAL 949 had been grounded due to their actions.

Read more.

Asbestos in schools victims.

Secret asbestos in our schools ‘killing 400 victims a year’

ALMOST four hundred former school pupils will die of lung cancer every year after being exposed to asbestos while at school, research shows. It means Britain will have the highest number of ex-pupils and teachers in the world to die after exposure to the deadly substance.

Read more.

Low income families avoiding dentist because of possible fines.

The British Dental Association says a "huge fall" in people on low incomes going to the dentist in England is because they fear being wrongly fined when they claim for free treatment.

The most recent annual figures show almost 370,000 fines for people accused of "misclaiming" for free dental care.

But dentists say many of these are innocent confusions over paperwork and that many are overturned when challenged.

The NHS says that anyone entitled to free care should be able to access it.

Those claiming for free treatment include the elderly, those on benefits and people with learning difficulties.


And the BDA says the system of fines, usually of £100, is creating a "hostile environment" for the vulnerable.

Read more.


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