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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.

Would more mature students work wonders in your secondary classroom?

Every so often there is another alleged case in the news of an adult masquerading as a child and attending school. The most recent story comes from Suffolk, where a pupil has claimed that one of his classmates is 30 years old. They nearly always seem to be 30 in these reports. Plainly, anyone below that magic age does not sound dangerous and weird enough to make the news.

There has been the usual hysteria and outrage. Some of the parents eagerly took to social media: "I suggest if anyone's children are in the same classes as this guy then keep them off school until this has been investigated." This was one of the more moderate reactions. If some people could have their way there wouldn’t even have been an inquiry. “This guy” would have simply been put on top of a local Suffolk bonfire.

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Who pays for your student loans?

Who pays for your student loans?

If you're a student in England who's just taken one out, or a recent graduate staring at your monthly statement, you'll answer "I do".

The public debate about whether students are taking on too much debt has led to a big review of how to pay for your education beyond the age of 18.

Tuition fees in England have become a knotty political problem.

And there's more than one group of people trying to untangle it at the moment.

Back to that question of who pays.

How much you repay as a graduate depends on how much you earn - 9% of everything over £25,000 a year.

So most people will never fully repay their debt, that's how the system is designed.

When loans get written off in 30 years' time the taxpayer picks up the bill.

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Pseudonyms to protect authors of controversial articles

Academics who are frightened to explore controversial topics, in case it provokes a backlash, will soon have a safer route to publish such work.

An international group of university researchers is planning a new journal which will allow articles on sensitive debates to be written under pseudonyms.

They feel free intellectual discussion on tough issues is being hampered by a culture of fear and self-censorship.

The Journal of Controversial Ideas will be launched early next year.

Jeff McMahan, professor of moral philosophy at University of Oxford, and one of the organisers, said: "It would enable people whose ideas might get them in trouble either with the left or with the right or with their own university administration, to publish under a pseudonym."

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School delay call for summer-born pupils in Wales

Parents are calling for more flexibility over when summer-born children can start primary school in Wales.

Campaigners say they should be allowed to start reception classes later than aged four to give them time to develop and catch up with their peers.

They want ministers to issue councils with stronger guidance over requests to defer entry.

One Newport mother is so frustrated she is thinking of moving to Bristol.

The Welsh Government said a school admissions code review will start this month.

Children generally start school in the September before their fifth birthday, even though they may not turn five until almost a year after some of their peers.

In England, there are moves for councils to ensure that children can be admitted to reception at five if this is what their parents want.

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Children point finger at adults over bullying.

Children want adults to show each other more respect, with four out of 10 (41%) seeing grown-ups bullying each other in the past six months, a survey says.

Research among 1,001 children aged 11 to 16 by the Anti-Bullying Alliance suggests worrying numbers of children see adults setting a bad example.

Children in that age group highlighted adults who behaved poorly to each other face-to-face, online or in the media.

Some 97% said they would like to see more respect shown between grown-ups.

The survey is published ahead of the annual charity push against bullying, Anti-Bullying Week, which begins on Monday, November 12.

It comes after many reports of a bullying culture in numerous high-profile workplaces in England, including the Palace of Westminster

Read more.

Too many students left with debts for 'too little payback'

Too many graduates in England are being left with big debts for too little payback, MPs are warning.

Nearly half of recent graduates were not working in graduate roles in 2017, the Commons education committee says.

Its chairman Robert Halfon also highlights the excessive pay of some university vice-chancellors, saying that is not value for money.

The government is reviewing post-18 education and funding to see how it can ensure that value.

The Augur Review, which is due to report early next year, is looking at the system under which students take out tuition fee loans to fund courses costing £9,000 a year.

Read more.

Home schooling on the rise.

Every morning Ben Mumford starts his school day with maths. At the age of 10 he is already working at GCSE level, but he doesn’t always bother to get out of his pyjamas in time for the class. He reads more books than most of his friends, studies science on the beach, and recently built a go-kart in a technology lesson. Ben is happy and fulfilled. All, his mother Claire Mumford believes, thanks to home-schooling. “It’s not that I’m anti-establishment,” says Mumford, who has been home-schooling Ben and her other children, Sam, 11, and Amelia, eight, for the last year. “It’s just that schools haven’t got the time to nurture and teach children the way I think they should. School is very oppressive for young people. It’s not natural to be sat at a desk all day, with fluorescent lights, computer screens, barely able to see outside.” Her children get “time to relax and to be kids – to go to the woods, build dens and to learn what they’re excited about.”

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Some children are consistently bullied.

One child in every classroom has been bullied every single day over past six months, survey suggests.   

Almost half (45 per cent) of 11 to 16-year-olds questioned said they had been bullied face-to-face, and more than a third (34 per cent) have been bullied online, at least once in the last six months.


A survey, from the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), suggests that 4 per cent of pupils are being bullied face-to-face or online every day – which it says is the equivalent of one child in every classroom.


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Data being collected on children from birth.

The children's commissioner for England is calling on internet giants and toy-makers to be more transparent about the data they are collecting on children.

Today's children are the first to be "datafied" from birth and little thought has been given to the consequences, a report for her says.

Who Knows What about Me? calls for a statutory duty of care between social media giants and their younger users.

And it urges the government to consider strengthening data protection laws.

'Canary in mine'

The report also highlights how very young children are now using toys that are connected to the internet.

These gather personal messages and information that may be insecure and open to attack from hackers, it says.

The report quotes research led by Sonia Livingstone, who describes children as the "canary in the coal mine for wider society" - the first to encounter new technology and its risks before many adults are even aware of them.

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Home Office - School - Assylum seeker.

A secondary school pupil is being investigated after parents and classmates claimed he was as old as 30.

It is thought he is an asylum seeker who joined Stoke High School, Ipswich, as a new pupil at the start of term.

The school said it had contacted the Home Office in relation to the concerns but it was not prepared to comment further.

Another pupil shared an image on social media with the message: "How's there a 30-year-old man in our maths class?"

But some classmates from the school said they did not think he was as old as 30 and suggested he had been a victim of bullying.


The Home Office said it does not routinely comment on individual cases.

In a statement the school said: "This is a matter for the Home Office. They are looking into this after we contacted them.

Read more.


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