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.

130 queue from 3am for breakfast club sign up.

More than 130 parents queued from 3am outside a Welsh primary school this morning to ensure their children secured a place at a sought-after breakfast club.

Waiting patiently with camping chairs and flasks, determined parents lined the curb outside Ysgol Y Berllan Deg in Cardiff for the annual breakfast club signup, which is operated on a first come, first served basis.

 

​The breakfast club is part of a government scheme aimed at providing primary school children with the opportunity of receiving a free breakfast each day, but there are limited spaces.

Read more.


Bug in school software.

Updated Capita has admitted a bug in an information management system used by 21,000 UK schools could have incorrectly linked contact details to the wrong pupils – an incident with huge implications for pupils' data protection.

The error, which has been pinned on a December 2017 upgrade to the Schools Information Management System, could have resulted in schools sending out information about pupils to the wrong address.

The bug is understood to affect all users nationally, regardless of whether they are locally or centrally hosted...

Capita has apologised to schools for the bug and has issued a patch that will prevent further records from being corrupted – but this will be cold comfort for those who used the system to send out correspondence ahead of the end of year.

According to an email sent out to schools in one UK county, and seen by The Register, the fault was in the SIMS software matching routine for new pupils. It is understood to affect all users nationally, regardless of whether they are locally or centrally hosted.

Read more.


Students paint over Rudyard Kipling mural.

Students at the University of Manchester have painted over a mural of a poem by Rudyard Kipling, arguing that the writer “dehumanised people of colour”.

The poem If, which was written around 1895, had been painted on the wall of the university’s newly refurbished students’ union. But students painted over the verses, replacing them with the 1978 poem Still I Rise by theUS poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.

In a statement on Facebook, Sara Khan, the union’s liberation and access officer, said students had not been consulted about the art that would decorate the union building.

Read more.


Government loses £600m in student loan sell off.

The Government has lost more than £600m in future earnings as a result of its decision to sell off student loans “too cheaply”, the spending watchdog has warned. The National Audit Office has criticised both the Department for Education and the Treasury for failing to secure sufficient value for money for taxpayers when selling the student loan book. According to a report published today by the watchdog, the DfE sold the first batch of income-based loans with a face value of £3.5bn for £1.7bn, securing 48p in every £1 of loans sold.

Read more.


Exam results annulled at primary school

Exam results at a North Yorkshire primary school have been thrown out due to "maladministration".

Year six pupils at Colburn Community Primary School had part of their Key Stage 2 Sats results annulled after a local authority investigation.

The inquiry, which led to the writing assessments being thrown out, was carried out after concerns were raised by the Standards and Testing Agency.

Staff will continue to be investigated, North Yorkshire County Council said.

It said the exams were annulled as a result of "maladministration", and that it was now working with local secondary schools "to ensure that accurate and fair assessments of writing will take place".

Read more.


University College of London and immigration controls.

A row has broken out over University College London’s enforcement of immigration controls for international students, with staff and students accusing the senior management of pursuing draconian and discriminatory policies.

The dispute comes after UCL advised lecturers to carry out random spot checks on students’ identity documents, and one of the university’s leading faculties warned that staff who fail to report those in breach of the terms of their visa and immigration requirements “may be liable to a £20,000 personal fine per case”.

Read more.


Research misconduct in Universities.

A national watchdog that has the power to punish British universities for failing to tackle research misconduct is needed to ensure that sloppy practices and outright fraud are caught and dealt with fast, MPs say.

The new body would rule on whether universities have properly investigated allegations of malpractice and have the authority to recommend research funds be withdrawn or even reclaimed when it finds that inquiries into alleged wrongdoing have fallen short.

While serious research fraud is thought to be rare in British universities, a quarter of institutions fail to report cases of potential malpractice, according a survey by the Commons science and technology committee which urged ministers to set up the new watchdog in a report on research integrity published Wednesday.

Read more.


Capita wins major contract.

Won't somebody think of the children? Capita – perhaps the UK's least favourite outsourcing badass – is to oversee the admin, processing and support for all primary school national curriculum assessment (NCA) tests in England.

The six-year contract worth £109m was awarded by the Department for Education's Standards and Testing Agency, covering the 2020 to 2024 test cycles, starting September 2019.

This means Capita will manage the NCA tests end-to end, including printing, distribution and collation of 9 million papers a year for Key Stage 1 and 2 tests and the phonics screening check.

Read more.


Bitter row in major unions.

It was meant to bring together the two of the largest teachers’ organisations to form a “super-union” that “politicians will have to listen to”.

But the merger of the “radical” National Union of Teacher (NUT) with the more moderate Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has led to a bitter row, culminating in employees going on strike against their own union.

The strike has been described as “highly embarrassing” for the newly formed National Education Union (NEU).

Read more.


Fine for sharing data.

A company that offers pregnant women and new parents health advice and gifts, faces a fine for illegally sharing more than a million people's personal data with the Labour Party.

The UK's data watchdog intends to issue the owner of the Emma's Diary service a £140,000 penalty.

It said Lifecycle Marketing had sold the data for use in the 2017 general election campaign without disclosing it might do so.

The firm disputes the findings.

It said it had not been given an opportunity to respond to the Information Commissioner's Office's complaints before the report was published

    

"As a result, details of the ICO's findings, including those being reported by the press, contain significant factual inaccuracies which we trust will be corrected," said a spokeswoman for Lifecycle Marketing.

Read more.


 

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