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The life
A Christian perspective on society and the education industry for the Christian professional in education.

Should private schools carry out more background checks on pupils' families?

Britain’s most senior financial policeman has urged private schools to carry out more background checks on pupils' families – even if it's just a quick "Google check".

Donald Toon, head of economic and cyber crime at the National Crime Agency (NCA), said criminals were targeting private schools across the board and bursars needed to be more aware of the risks.

“There is an overarching responsibility here to do more,” he told Tes. “We have a number of areas where I am identifying very, very high-risk individuals, suspect individuals, who have children in public schools."

Read more.

School tells parents not to spend more than £50 on present for teacher.

St Helen and St Katharine school in Oxfordshire issues guidance to parents

  • It tells staff they can't accept cash or gifts worth more than £50 from a pupil
  • Also banned from accepting vouchers worth over £100 from group of students
  • Good Schools Guide's senior editor says it could make parents feel pressured

Read more.

Dyslexic students achievements at Uni.

The proportion of UK university students who are dyslexic has increased markedly in recent years, rising to around 5%. Yet there remains a significant dyslexia attainment gap: around 40% of dyslexic students achieve a 2.1 or above, compared to 52% of non-dyslexic students. Dyslexia is unrelated to intelligence, so why does this gap persist?

Unfortunately, outdated attitudes towards dyslexia among university staff prevail. Too many view it as something made up by middle-class “helicopter parents” to gain unfair advantages for their children entering university, and not the valid medical diagnosis that it actually is. Even where it is accepted as a condition rooted in an inability to match spoken sounds with their written forms, the accommodations made to level the playing field for dyslexic students are often inadequate.

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Young women more likely to face loneliness.

Young women are more likely than young men to have feelings of loneliness, according to a study from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

About one in 10 young people in the UK often feel lonely, says the first such analysis from the ONS.

The study found a "stigma" attached to loneliness, with young people fearing it would be seen as "failing".

There were young people who used social media to "cover up" their feelings and pretend their lives were not lonely.

The study from the ONS looks at the extent of loneliness among people aged between 10 and 24.

Read more.

A million children under 10 in poverty.

A million children under the age of 10, in England and Scotland, are facing "Dickensian" levels of poverty as they prepare for Christmas, a charity says.

Action for Children drew on government figures for the number of low-income families with children of that age that are experiencing material deprivation.

The charity also highlights a 30% rise in the demand for financial advice over the past three years.

The government said since 2010, 300,000 fewer children were living in poverty.

The charity will be running unofficial food banks over the Christmas period for families it says lack fresh food, suitable clothes and, in some cases, money to pay for heating.


'Prices going up'

It blames the "double blow" of government austerity and problems with the introduction of universal credit.

Chief executive Julie Bentley said: "While the government tells us austerity is at an end, every day at Action for Children we see first-hand the impossible choices that families living in practically Dickensian levels of poverty have to make."

Parents of four, Paul and Donna Maund, from near Norwich, said the family had to rely on benefits to cover the weekly basics, despite Paul working full time in a sandwich shop.

Donna said: "It won't be long before we'll have to start using food banks, as I've noticed prices going up and up.

"By finding the bargains at discount supermarkets, I've worked hard to get my weekly food bill for the whole family down to £45 - but the only way we can afford Christmas dinner and all the treats for the kids this year is by going to my parents.

"Finding the money for our oil heating is the worst.

'Warm bed'

"I always have to borrow the money from my dad and then pay him back every week.

"I've only just paid for one refill and it looks like at this rate I'm going to run out again just before Christmas."

Ms Bentley said: "Our youngest children should be waking up in a warm bed after a visit from Santa on Christmas morning - but the shocking truth is that in 2018 many will be cold and hungry in the fifth richest country of the world.

"No parent should be forced to face the appalling choice between 'eating or heating' at Christmas - but this is the reality for far too many in the UK today."

'Best chances'

The charity is calling for the chancellor to end the freeze on children's benefits so that rising prices do not push more families into poverty.

A government official said it wanted every child to have the very best chances in life.

"There are now one million fewer people living in absolute poverty since 2010, including 300,000 children.

"With this government's changes, there are fewer children in workless households than ever before, boosting their prospects in life.

"Household incomes have never been higher, income inequality has fallen and taxes are down for families and businesses."


School friendships.

Friendships made in school play a special part in young people’s development. They are more than just moral support, friends help them learn key social skills, and serve as a source of social support. Close school friends also help young people develop a sense of importance, trust, acceptance and belonging within their school. Young people who are well appreciated and accepted by their friends are more likely to be happy and do well at school and more likely to develop positive friendships and relationships as adults. In fact, schools in the UK have been found to be the most important place for young people to make friends with others of their own age.

Read more.

'Period poverty' sanitary products 'improve school attendance'


'Period poverty' sanitary products 'improve school attendance'

A school has found that a scheme to give girls free menstrual products has helped improve their attendance.

The Red Box project was set up to help solve the problem known as "period poverty".

Castle View Academy in Portsmouth said since the scheme was introduced it had helped increase attendance levels by nearly a third.

It is estimated about 137,000 girls will miss school in the UK each year because of a lack of access to sanitary products

    View the video.                

Project to close race pay gap at university.

A project to close the race pay gap experienced by graduating black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) students is rolling out across a university.

The Equity programme gives students at the University of the West of England (UWE) tailored mentoring, entrepreneurial and coaching sessions.

Its founder Dr Zainab Khan said "the outcomes do not look good" for the increasing numbers of BME students.

In its first year, the project mentored 200 business and law students.

The project at UWE in Bristol works by discussing race and identity, and gives advice on overcoming racism and exploring traditional leadership values.

Read more.

Overseas students turn away from US.

The number of new international students enrolling at United States universities and colleges went down by almost 7% last year, according to official data published this month.

It's the second year in a row that the number of new international enrolments in the US has declined, denting a market worth $42bn (£33bn) to the US economy last year.

Prof Simon Marginson, of Oxford University, an expert on trends in international students, says there is "little doubt" this downturn is related to the Trump administration.

He says it's a combination of the anti-immigration messages putting off applicants and the tightening of the student visa system.

Read more.

Analysis of post university salaries.

Women studying maths at Oxford and men taking economics at Bristol get the biggest increase in earnings from going to university, says an analysis of salaries at the age of 29.

The study, from the Department for Education and Institute for Fiscal Studies, says women are much more likely to gain from getting a degree.

Women with a degree earn on average 28% more than non-graduate women.

Men with degrees earn an average of 8% more than non-graduates.

But a third of men go to universities which give them only a "negligible" pay advantage, despite the cost of fees.

Read more.


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