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.

Head Teachers turn to charities.

It was a sight Lorna Jackson, a London headteacher, had never expected to see: two pupils at her primary school sleeping behind bins at the station with their parents. “Mum, dad and the two little children were all sleeping on a mattress they’d found. The family had been evicted and the children had very little to eat.”

Jackson’s school, Maryland primary in Stratford, is in a deprived area of east London. As well as suffering homelessness, her pupils are regularly victims of domestic violence. “I realised that my role had changed. Unless I addressed our children’s wellbeing, their education was not going to have impact at all.”

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Holiday fines who should benefit?

I am sad to say that I have had to speak to several irate parents this week who took their children out of school during term time and were fined £60 per child.

Over the past few years, my local authority (LA) has not been on top of the fining game, and many parents have slipped through the net. But with LAs as well as schools feeling financial pressure, fines are now being issued on a far more consistent basis.

My issue is the time I have to spend calming parents down. The holiday-request letter clearly states that approval of any “exceptional circumstances”, allowing parents to holiday fine-free, is at the headteacher’s discretion. Parents therefore blame me for their fines.

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University racism complacency.

Universities are being accused of "complacency" over a lack of senior black academics and lower achievement among ethnic minority students.

Baroness Amos, the UK's first black woman university head, says there are "deep-seated prejudices and stereotypes which need to be overcome".

"Not even 1% of UK professors are black," she will tell a conference on university leadership.

The Office for Students says tackling such "gaps" should be a priority.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Baroness Amos, director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas), in London, said universities liked to see themselves as "inclusive and internationalist".

Looked after youngsters sent 200 miles

Looked-after youngsters are being sent up to 200 miles from Cardiff to Liverpool for care, a council has said.

An inquiry into out-of-county placements showed 244 of 800 cared-for children are based outside of the city.

As a result a Cardiff Council scrutiny committee has suggested building new children's homes.

A council spokesman said 80% are within a 20-mile radius, with parents addresses and foster families accounting for those further afield.

The committee's chairman Lee Bridgeman said some youngsters are being sent to Liverpool, the north of England and north Wales.


"There are young people we understand need to go out of county, for example in cases of sexual exploitation," he said.

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Delaying summer born entry to school has little impact.

Delaying a summer-born child's entry to primary school has little impact on attainment, research suggests.

Children born in England between April and August, whose start in Reception was put back a year, did only marginally better in Year 1 tests, according to a government study.

The number of applications to councils for delayed entry has risen sharply.

Head teachers' unions want clearer guidance on whether delayed school entry for summer-born children works.

Department for Education researchers looked at results achieved in the Phonics Screening Check, taken by pupils at the end of Year 1.


Pupils whose school start was delayed a year in 2014 and 2015 scored on average 0.7 marks higher than other summer-born children. 

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Children denied Free School Meals because of immigration status.

The government is being urged to review a policy that campaigners say bars children of virtually destitute families from receiving free school meals because of their parents’ immigration status.

Headteachers and campaigners have expressed outrage that pupils who are among the poorest in society are missing out on free school meals because their parents have no access to benefits as a part of a condition known as “no recourse to public funds” (NRPF).

One headteacher, Ian Bennett, of Downshall primary school in Ilford, Essex, has been forced to take money from his education budget to feed 12 children in this predicament in his school and is angry that children are being penalised by “harsh” immigration policies. “It doesn’t feel right to me. They need to be treated compassionately.”

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HPV vaccine 'safe'

The HPV vaccine routinely offered to teenage girls in the UK is safe and protects against a virus that can cause cancer of the cervix, an independent review has found.

The analysis by the Cochrane Group provides solid evidence that should reassure parents considering having their daughters immunised, say experts.

It looked at 26 trials involving more than 73,000 girls and women.

Serious side-effects following the vaccine were rare.

Campaigners maintain the vaccine can cause harm and say this needs to be explored more fully.

Some parents say their daughters have become unwell after being immunised.

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Graduates ditch jobs for self-employment.

Graduate jobs are being ditched in favour of self-employment, a new study reveals.



Over half (56%) of students, which equates to 1.2 million people in university education, are considering setting up their own business, instead of getting on the corporate career ladder.

Exploring the trend of modern student businesses, the research, carried out by leading print company Solopress, found that launching a start-up was a more appealing lifestyle for the newest generation of workers.

Surprisingly, nearly a third (32%) of students consider starting their own company in their first 12 months of university, with 38% certain it would give them a better chance of being successful.

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Student Loan Rate 'absurb' ?

The inflation measure used to set interest rates on student loans is "absurd", says a report from MPs.

The government uses RPI - the Retail Prices Index - which the Treasury Select Committee says is "flawed" and should be "abandoned".

The rise in that measure will push interest rates on student loans for tuition fees up to 6.3% in the autumn.

The Department for Education defended the continuing use of RPI, saying it provided "consistency over time".

Nicky Morgan, who chairs the committee, said the use of RPI for loan repayments, which "normally gives a higher rate of inflation", appears "grossly unfair".

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Denied a student loan.

Mary* always knew she wanted to be a doctor. “When I was in school, I had everything planned out,” said the 20-year-old, who moved to the UK from Nigeria aged five. 



But after months of intense revision for her A Levels, the top-grade student discovered that her immigration status meant she was effectively barred from university. 

Despite having lived in the UK for the vast majority of her life, Mary was told she would not be considered a home student because she had only been granted “limited leave to remain” in the UK the year before.



As a result, she would not only have to pay international student fees, often more than double the £9,250 British students are charged, but she would not be eligible for a loan - the only way she could afford university. 



Discovering the news the day before her A Level chemistry exam, she simply “packed up and went to bed”. 

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