ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

for Christians working in education

The week
News items from the week’s daily and education press, covering the major education news stories of the week.

Criticism of downgrading of Little Ducklings by OFSTED.

A nursery in Brighton had its Ofsted rating downgraded after it was found staff did not know how to protect children from adopting extreme views and potentially being radicalised.

The decision provoked anger among parents and a local councillor who criticised it as “absolutely ludicrous” and called for the state to “let children be children”.

A periodic Ofsted review lowered Little Ducklings’ rating from “outstanding” to “requires improvement” after finding a number of failings at the preschool.

It censured the nursery for not having an adequate understanding of how to safeguard children, who are aged between two and five at the nursery, from adopting extreme views and said staff must improve their knowledge of the government’s Prevent strategy.

Read more.

Eton and the cabinet.

Charles Moore wrote an article last week about the historic over-representation of Etonians in government. It was headlined: “With Etonians shunned in the modern cabinet, where will the new talent come from?”

Oh how we laughed, the sad bitter laugh of a broken system. Here are some of the places I would rather pull talent from over Eton: my local Harvester, the inpatients of my local maternity ward, my brother’s Narcotics Anonymous group. Also I’d like to speak up for the fellow I met yesterday at Heathrow who piled so many bags on to a trolley and drove it masterfully through a crowd of angry, tired travellers without even a furrowed brow. Put him in charge of the trains.

The most recent Etonians to grace us in cabinet were Messrs Johnson and Cameron. Ofsted should be placing Eton in special measures for producing these two who engaged in a 10-year game of whiff-waff, willy-waving rivalry that marched our country off a cliff and then sodded off to write words in sheds for loads of money. Eton created leaders all right, but I suggest in future that the school focuses on quality, not quantity.

Read more.

Call for Scottish children to start school at age 6.

A leading international educationalist is calling on the Scottish Government to raise the age children start primary school “as a matter of urgency” to help prevent a surge in mental health problems. Sue Palmer, chair of Upstart Scotland, the children’s educational campaigning charity, wants a “kindergarten” stage from ages three to seven. The final kindergarten year would be completed in Primary 1 – involving establishing a new starting age of six for pupils.

Read more.

Over £400m cut from Scottish school budgets.

More than £400million of spending has been axed from Scotland’s 
education system since the start of 
the decade, official figures have revealed. Older pupils have suffered the brunt of the cuts with spending on secondary education falling by about £350m from budgets since 2010. Nurseries and primary schools saw a rise in spending, according to the figures from the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe). Recent years have seen a worrying fall in Scottish education in international league tables and the SNP Government is now facing claims that it has failed to protect schools from the worst impact of Tory austerity

Read more.

Northern Ireland's education system under strain.

Northern Ireland's education system is under "considerable strain" and faces "severe financial challenges", according to a senior civil servant.

The Department of Education's top official, Derek Baker, made the comments in the accounts for 2017-18, which have just been published.

The Education Authority overspent its budget by about £19m last year.

That is mainly due to increased spending on schools and pupils with special educational needs.

It follows a similar overspend by the Education Authority in 2016-17 for which it was criticised by the Northern Ireland Audit Office.


Mr Baker said that schools were facing unprecedented pressures and an increasing number were moving into financial deficit.

Read more.

August Prayer Diary

Prayer Diary August 2018

Please pray for:



1st August

Christian teachers to enter school   management


2nd August

Continuing openness for Christian   material to be shared in schools, e.g. Gideon or Bible Society resources


3rd August

Everyone in your local primary school


4th August

Looked After Children


5th August

Each child to know the care and   encouragement of at least one Christian teacher during their school life


6th August

Those working for OFSTED


7th August

Teachers handling difficult   behavioural situations


8th August

Christian teachers in your town


9th August

ACT’s Director Clive Ireson, and for   wisdom in responding to media requests


10th August

Fellow ACT members


11th August

Pupils and staff who are unhappy in   school


12th August

The Master to teach you something   fresh today


13th August

ACT’s development through Regional   Representatives


14th August

All staff and pupils with disabilities


15th August

Young Christian teachers todesire to   stand together with ACT


16th August

Guidance for those receiving A level   results today


17th August

Christians running Bible clubs in   schools


18th August

Those who receive complementary   education due to health/medical conditions


19th August

Churches to encourage those seeking   to be light in education


20th August

Education ministers  to be passionate about individuals as well   as overall achievement


21st August

The impact of ACT’s website and   Actuality


22nd August

Those in education facing challenges   due to their Christian stance


23rd August

Those receiving GCSE level results   today, and for those advising them


24th August

Christian pupils in your area


25th August

Jamie Jamieson, ACT’s Overseas   Secretary


26th August

Those responsible for Safeguarding in   schools


27th August

Education Secretary Damian Hinds


28th August

Wisdom and integrity for those   managing school budgets


29th August

Positive links between schools and   churches


30th August

Those supporting young people with   mental health issues


31st August

Staff and pupils as they prepare for   the new term


Call for sprinklers in schools.

The statistics for fires in non-residential buildings between 2009-2017 show that there were a total of 90 fires in pre-schools, nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools in 2017, up from 67 in 2016, equivalent to a 34 per cent rise.

The Brigade’s latest Fire Facts report ( released this week, shows fires at educational buildings, including colleges and universities, have increased from 20 to 28 in the same period.

The London Fire Brigade has called for sprinklers to be made compulsory in all new school builds, and for all schools to be retrofitted with sprinklers during major refurbishments. This has been mandatory in Scotland since 2010.

Read more.

GCSE Sign Language?

A GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) could be introduced in this parliament after the government backed down on a decision to delay it.

Deaf schoolboy Daniel Jillings, 12, is campaigning for the new exam in time for his GCSEs, and his family launched a legal challenge to get one instated as quickly as possible.

The Department for Education had previously said no new GCSEs would be introduced in this parliament, but following submissions from the family’s lawyers it said it may consider making an “exception”.

Daniel’s family’s lawyers argue the lack of a GCSE in BSL may be “discriminatory and unlawful”.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said on Wednesday: “We will consider any proposals put forward for a GCSE in British Sign Language.

“As we have made clear previously, any new GCSE would need to meet the rigorous standards set by both the Department and Ofqual.

Read more.

Are youth clubs missing out because of National Citizens Service.

Millions of pounds of is being spent on the government's flagship citizenship scheme for young people while local youth clubs are closing, councils say.

The National Citizen Service, a four-week summer scheme for 15 to 17-year-olds - accounts for 95% of central government spending on youth services.

But the Local Government Association said only 12% of eligible teens took part in 2016.

The government said the service has improved 400,000 young people's lives.

Launched by former Prime Minister David Cameron - who now chairs its board of patrons - in 2011, the service cost the government £634m between 2014/15 and 2017/18.


The government said it was investing another £80 million on youth projects.

Read more.

Thousands of grammar school places created.

There are 11,000 more grammar school pupils in England now than in 2010, BBC analysis of official data shows.

And by 2021, the data suggests, the number of extra places created will be equivalent to 24 new grammar schools compared to eight years ago.

The analysis shows a rise in numbers even before the distribution of a new £50m growth fund, announced in May.

The government says schools will be eligible for funding only if they improve access for poorer pupils.

Grammar schools are state-funded secondary schools which allocate places to pupils on the basis of their performance in an extra academic test at the end of primary school.

Read more.


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