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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.

9 year old children discuss suicide.

Children as young as nine are talking about suicide in class, a teachers’ survey has revealed as they warn that mental health issues are on the rise.

Four in five teachers said they have seen a rise in pupils experiencing mental health problems, according to a poll conducted by the National Education Union (NEU).

The survey of over 8,674 teachers and support staff found that 83 per cent saw a rise in the past two years. "Sats pressure and general expectations are taking their toll on more vulnerable pupils,” one teacher commented, adding: "We have nine-year-olds talking about suicide."

Another said she had seen “much more anxiety” and self-harming among pupils, adding that there have been “three suicides in three years in my school alone."

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Open University celebrates 50th birthday.

The Open University, the UK's largest educational institution, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

It was set up to bring degree-level learning to people who had not had the chance to go to a traditional campus, and pioneered long-distance study.

The university teamed up with the BBC to produce course programmes, famously shown late at night for many years.

Photos released to mark the occasion show the early days and tell the story of some of its current students.

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Should sprinklers be installed in all schools?

The government has been accused of a "callous disregard" for pupils' safety after admitting just 15% of new schools are being built with sprinklers to tackle fires.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said 105 of the 673 schools built and open by February were fitted with sprinklers.

The government said sprinklers were installed when "considered necessary".

But the Fire Brigades Union said the government was showing "utter complacency" on fire safety in schools.

"We've made it clear that newly-built schools and other high-risk buildings should have sprinkler systems," added the FBU.

    

"Sprinklers can assist in the control of a fire in its early stages, limiting damage and giving occupants additional time to escape, as well as reducing the risks faced by firefighters attending the incident."

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Free sanitary products extended to primary schools.

Free sanitary products will be offered to girls in all primary schools in England from early 2020.

It follows Chancellor Philip Hammond's announcement last month of funding for free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges.

Amika George, founder of the #FreePeriods campaign, called the latest move "fantastic news". 

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi said: "No-one should be held back from reaching their potential".

Read the detail.

 


Parents plan legal action over new tests for four-year-olds

On Thursday next week Kay Tart, from Hitchin in Hertfordshire, will help her daughter Isla dress in the uniform she will wear when she starts school in September. She will make sure the four-year-old’s favourite book and soft toy are in her backpack, but they won’t be heading to school. They will be joining other parents and children on the “march of the four-year-olds” to 10 Downing Street, where Isla will get her first taste of democracy.

The children will hand in a 65,000- signature petition against the new “baseline” tests the government plans for children aged four and five. They will be piloted at hundreds of schools in September ready for their introduction England-wide at the start of the new school year in 2020.

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Projects to strengthen and support families.

Children in and on the edge of care will benefit from £84 million of new investment for projects designed to strengthen and support families - marking the 30th anniversary of the Children Act by reaffirming its core principle that, where possible, children are best brought up with their parents.

Up to 20 councils will receive funding to help improve their practice, supporting families to stay together wherever appropriate, so that fewer children need to be taken into care and giving them the best chance to succeed in life.

Three ‘early adopters’ have been unveiled to deliver one of three landmark projects originally run through the Department for Education’s Innovation Programme: Darlington, Cambridgeshire and Middlesbrough.

The launch of the government’s Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme will start work to roll out the three successful projects to other eligible councils, where there are persistently high numbers of children being taken into care.

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Scottish schools and tax relief.

Business rates will be reviewed by the Scottish Parliament, with proposals to remove the charitable status of independent schools.

The Scottish Parliament is considering reforming the system and is now calling for feedback from the public on the plans.

Non-domestic rates are levied on business properties, determined by the assessed value of the building, and are the second-highest source of tax income for the Scottish Government.

Following a review into the system by former RBS chief Ken Barclay, which made a series of recommendations to reform non-domestic rates in Scotland, a Bill has been introduced in the Scottish Parliament.

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Is Our School System Failing Dyslexic Students?

I’m going to let you in on a secret. At school I hated reading. Not because I felt books were boring but because, to me, they were the very real monsters under the bed.

For many people with dyslexia, reading and writing can be a very real fear. And my fear was exacerbated by falling behind at school.

Early on in my education I was labelled a student with special needs. But what my special needs were, nobody was completely sure. Despite testing and teachers’ assessments, my dyslexia went undiagnosed.

Instead, I was whispered about as “unteachable”, and made to sit at the back of the class with adapted work and attend twice weekly special needs classes.

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Postcode lottery for those needing mental health support.

Children suffering anxiety, depression and other low-level mental health conditions face a postcode lottery when seeking treatment, research has shown.

There are wide disparities in spending per child in different parts of England with more than a third of areas seeing a real-terms fall in spending on these services. This is despite soaring demand and increased government funding for children’s mental health nationally, the study by the children’s commissioner for England found.

Experts said early intervention by school nurses, counsellors, drop-in centres or online support services to address low-level conditions can prevent them developing into more serious illnesses. And the report warned children may be losing out at this crucial point.

Read the full story.


Ofsted's head of research not given settled staus after Brexit.

Ofsted's head of research has complained on Twitter of being turned down in his application for "settled status" in the UK after Brexit.

Professor Daniel Muijs, a senior figure in England's education watchdog, has held posts in Southampton, Manchester, Newcastle and Warwick Universities.

Originally from Belgium, he has worked in the UK for more than 20 years.

The Home Office says he has not been "refused", but more information needs to be supplied.

Prof Muijs, whose research work has helped to improve schools in England, has so far not been accepted by the application process for EU citizens wanting to continue living and working in the UK after Brexit.

Read more.


 

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