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.

Underperforming Unis may have to cut fees

Ministers are considering forcing underperforming universities to cut tuition fees as the Government steps up efforts to offer students better value for money. The plans are part of options being considered by the Government as it looks to crack down on “low quality” universities, which have been able to charge students the full £9,000 a year in fees (rising to £9,250 for the coming year).

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Ritz London joins National School Meals Week.

The world famous Ritz London has agreed to take part in this year’s LACA National School Meals Week (NSMW) by offering a placement on the ‘Host a School Chef’ programme. Now in its fourth year the popular scheme offers school chefs the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in the catering industry, in some of the most celebrated restaurants in the country.

There are none more celebrated though than The Ritz London with the iconic Michelin starred Ritz Restaurant, widely considered to be one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the world. In addition to holding a Michelin star, in 2002 The Ritz London became the first and only hotel to be awarded a Royal Warrant by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for Catering and Banqueting Services. Consequently, for a member of the education catering industry to be invited into the kitchens for the day is exciting news.

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Urge for enquiry into Student Loans Company.

There has been a call for an urgent inquiry into problems at the Student Loans Company which led to the suspension of its chief executive.

Shadow Universities Minister Gordon Marsden said the firm was near "meltdown" and urged the Universities Minister to address the problems.

The Department for Education suspended Steve Lamey in July without saying why.

A DfE spokesman defended the student loans system and said Jo Johnson would respond in due course.

In early July, a statement from the DfE said: "The Student Loans Company, in consultation with the Department for Education, took the decision to suspend the chief executive, pending an investigation into concerns which have been raised.

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Disabled children face travel difficulties.

Parents of disabled children say they have quit jobs or cut their hours because of problems with the school transport system.

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed by the charity Contact said travel arrangements for their child had affected how long they work.

Contact said its research showed the council-funded system was "in crisis".

The Department for Education said it would review its guidance to local authorities to ensure it is clear.

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Many French schools move to 4 day week.

Many of the schools seizing this new freedom, provided by President Emmanuel Macron, are in rural areas

Almost a third of primary schools in France are set to return to a four-day week this month.  

The move comes after local authorities in France were given the freedom to choose between a four-day school week and a four-and-a-half-day week from the start of the academic year.

According to the ministry of education, which confirmed the change this summer, 31.8 per cent of schools have opted for a four-day week – covering 28.7 per cent of primary school pupils.

In 2008 then president Nicolas Sarkozy introduced the four-day school week for primary schools – and many opted for a rest day on Wednesdays.

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Air pollution and school playgrounds.

Three quarters of parents in Britain wants to see extra measures put in place to protect children from air pollution.

A poll conducted by YouGov for environmental lawyers ClientEarth, based on latest government figures, has revealed nearly 1,000 schools are next to or near roads with harmful levels of noxious traffic fumes. 

The organisation has launched its own postcode tool through which parents can find out if their child’s school is one of those on the list.

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International coverage of boy of 6 wearing a dress.

A British family is planning to sue their six-year-old son’s school after boys were allowed to come to class in dresses.

Husband and wife Nigel and Sally Rowe, removed their son from the elementary school after a male classmate arrived in a dress.

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Parents withdraw child from school because another boy pupil wears a dress.

The parents of a six-year-old boy have removed him from his primary school in a row over whether another pupil should be allowed to wear a dress.

Nigel and Sally Rowe said their son was confused as to why the child at the Church of England School on the Isle of Wight dressed as both a boy and a girl.

The Diocese of Portsmouth, under which the school falls, said it was required to "respect diversity of all kinds".

The couple believe the school should have consulted all parents.

Mrs Rowe told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme that when they spoke with the school, which is not being identified, they were told "if a child wants to do that then we just have to accept it".


The couple said under the school's bullying policy their son faced being disciplined for misidentifying the gender of the six-year-old pupil.

Should Learn Direct face investigation.

Training company Learndirect should face an investigation after it was rated "inadequate" by Ofsted, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee says.

The firm is estimated to have received more than £600m of public funding since 2011, but Meg Hillier said the government must demonstrate there were consequences for failure.

Ofsted has told the BBC no training provider should be beyond scrutiny.

Learndirect said it had made strong progress in improving its provision.

Ofsted's report, which the company tried to prevent being made public, rated Learndirect inadequate overall, with failings in apprenticeships and lesser problems in adult learning.

Read more.

Vote in House of Commons on tuition fee rise.

Labour is forcing a vote in the House of Commons in a bid to prevent an increase in tuition fees in England.

Fees are due to rise to £9,250 this year and then again to more than £9,500 for next year.

Labour is tabling a motion for Wednesday that would reverse the tuition fee increase - with the claim that the outcome would be binding.

But the Department for Education says that even if the government lost the vote "this motion has no legal effect".

Labour is attempting to use parliamentary process to block the tuition fee increases which are due to be implemented for students from this autumn.

Read more.


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