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.

School stops calling girls 'girls'.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls stops calling girls ‘girls’

This week it emerged that Altrincham Grammar School for Girls has started using gender-neutral language when referring to students, and stopped using the word ‘girls’ for fear of offending transgender students. The Manchester Evening News discovered that it was ‘training’ by an unspecified organisation that prompted this. This is curious because only a few months ago Joshua Sutcliffe was dismissed from Cherwell School in Oxford for ‘misgendering’ a female pupilwho identified as a boy when he addressed a group of which she was a member as ‘girls’. Did Altrincham School cave into the advice for gender-neutral language in order to avoid being sued by activist students or former students?

Read more.

Only vocational courses at Harris Professional Skills Sixth-Form.

Harris has announced plans to move its Aspire AP academy, which caters for pupils at risk of exclusion, onto the same site as its new vocational sixth-form.

The Harris Professional Skills Sixth-Form, also known as HPS6F, is a free school opening in south London in September which is unusual for only offering vocational courses.

Harris believes the pupils in the sixth form will act as “positive role models” to alternative provision pupils who have previously struggled to engage with learning, according to Dan Moynihan, the trust’s CEO.

Experts in the sector have hailed the model as “innovative”, but also raised concerns that AP pupils are being directed towards vocational options rather than academic routes and therefore risk “narrowing their curriculum”.

Read more.

Academies Trust made almost £1.5m in consultancy fees.

An academy trust chief executive whose family business made almost £1.5 million in consultancy fees in two years has defended the deal, claiming it has been “instrumental” in improving schools.

Janet Marshall, the founder and chief executive of the EMLC Academies Trust, which runs seven schools, is also director and a shareholder of Third Wave Enterprises Ltd.

The trust’s accounts reveal that service-level agreements between the trust and the consultancy have been in place since the trust was established in 2012, and EMLC is a 14-per-cent shareholder of Third Wave.

Read more.

Private school fees rising.

Private school fees are rising, pricing many families out of the market, but every year around a third of children who go to a private school pay reduced fees or even nothing at all.

Day school fees often exceed £15,000 a year, with the cost of a seven-year secondary education topping £100,000. Boarding school fees are typically double that.

However, around £900m was handed out in bursaries and scholarships last year to pupils at schools represented by the Independent Schools Council. Awareness of this funding is so low that a number of schools say they don’t hand out all the cash they have available each year.

Read more.

Aldi - many graduates first job.

Working at Aldi is now as lucrative for graduates as being a lawyer or an investment banker, a new report has found.

The budget supermarket chain is offering graduates £44,000 and a company car, which is the same salary as many of the country’s top law firms, according to the annual Graduate Market study.

The competitive package represents the German company's drive to tempt high calibre graduates on board as it seeks to take on more established rivals with a bigger market share.

Graduates who win training contracts at some of the country’s most prestigious law firms – including  Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells, Slaughter and May, Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright - are paid a starting salary of £44,000.  

Read more.

Ofsted pupil survey questionnaire.


Pupil survey questions: schools January 2018, No. 180004 1

Pupil survey questions: schools

Schools give out online questionnaires when they're being inspected. This document lists the questions they ask their pupils in these online questionnaires.

Read more.


Ofsted school staff questionnaire.


Staffsurvey questions: schools

Schools give out online questionnaires when they're being inspected. This document lists the questions they ask their staff in these online questionnaires. It is for reference only.

Read the full questionnaire.

"Islam and terrorism" leaflets in school.

The owner of an unregistered school that had "no running water" and leaflets titled "Islam and terrorism?" has been banned from teaching.

Naveed Hussain, 39, the owner of Bordesley Independent School, was handed a prohibition order preventing him from working as a teacher.

The school was criticised by inspectors over child safety and the quality of its education.

An inspection found the school had no running water in the toilet area.

Read more.

Childcare website 'glitchy'.

Thousands of parents in England are struggling to get subsidised childcare as they grapple with a glitchy website eight months after it was set up.

In some cases, money meant for fees has become stuck in tax-free childcare accounts, leaving some parents unable to pay their nursery bills.

Others struggled to apply for or reconfirm their free childcare.

The government says that fewer than 2% of the 320,000 parents who have opened accounts had encountered problems.

It added that earlier teething problems had been put right with extra resources and insists the website is running smoothly for the majority of parents.

Read more.

Carillion apprentices in a dilemma.

"I'm really worried I might lose access to all my work," says Kyle Fitzsimmons, who until Tuesday morning was studying for a higher level carpentry apprenticeship with Carillion in Liverpool.

He and the rest of his class were getting on with their work at the training centre when their tutor was suddenly called to a meeting.

When he came back, the tutor told the group they had to leave and that the electricity was about to be turned off.

Someone would be in touch, the tutor told the apprentices.

Read more.


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