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.

Principal harassed for over a year.

A County Down school principal who was harassed for over a year by a parent of two pupils has described her ordeal as the man responsible was sentenced.

Julie Thomas told a court she was repeatedly verbally abused by the man, who took photos of her outside school and once showed up outside her home.

On another occasion, he allegedly shouted at her: "If this school was run by a man it would be better."

Gerard Knight, of Cayman Drive, Bangor, was given a suspended sentence.

Read more.


Students don't want different price tags for degrees.

More than 60% of students would not back varying price tags for different degree courses, a survey suggests.

Many of the 1,019 students questioned also opposed lower fees for those from poorer backgrounds.

The findings are in a report by the Higher Education Policy Institute which argues that the benefits of varying fees by degree are "largely illusory".

They come days after the prime minister launched a review of tuition fees and university funding.

Overall, 63% of those polled for the study thought that full-time courses should have the same fees.

Meanwhile one in three disagreed with that.

Read more.


Emotions on campus.

Ashley Hayward stands anxiously on the picket line outside the Senate House library in the heart of Bloomsbury, central London.

As cries of: "Don't go to your classes today, don't cross the picket," ring out, the stress tells on the 19-year-old's face.

Edging forward, the first-year ancient-languages student seems distressed and a little angry.

"I completely agree with the lecturers, but I am paying for my education and my teacher is running the lesson today," she says.

"This is my degree. I have an exam. So I can't miss it."

"This is an exam that is 50% of a core module."

Polite-but-persuasive picket Martha, a full-time researcher in neuroscience, tells Ashley: "We are asking students not to go in today. This is about our pensions.

Read more.


Emotions on campus.

Ashley Hayward stands anxiously on the picket line outside the Senate House library in the heart of Bloomsbury, central London.

As cries of: "Don't go to your classes today, don't cross the picket," ring out, the stress tells on the 19-year-old's face.

Edging forward, the first-year ancient-languages student seems distressed and a little angry.

"I completely agree with the lecturers, but I am paying for my education and my teacher is running the lesson today," she says.

"This is my degree. I have an exam. So I can't miss it."

"This is an exam that is 50% of a core module."

Polite-but-persuasive picket Martha, a full-time researcher in neuroscience, tells Ashley: "We are asking students not to go in today. This is about our pensions.

Read more.


Pickets on university campuses.

There have been pickets on campuses as university staff begin a strike in more than 50 universities, in a dispute over pensions.

Lecturers have walked out at universities including Oxford and Cambridge at the beginning of a month-long strike campaign.

Petitions signed by 80,000 students, many backing the lecturers, are demanding refunds for lost teaching.

Universities minister Sam Gyimah has called for more negotiations.

But Mr Gyimah says students "deserve to receive the education that they are paying for. For many, this is a vital time in their studies".

Read more.


National Apprenticeship week soon.

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 - #NAW2018 - takes place from 5 to 9 March 2018. Everyone with a passion for apprenticeships will be coming together to celebrate and get the nation talking about the exciting, and wide ranging, opportunities they have to offer.

 

Now in its 11th year, the theme for 2018 is Apprenticeships Work to highlight the positive impact of apprenticeships for individuals, employers, local communities and the wider economy.

How can you get involved and learn more?

With support from current and former apprentices, employers, educators, training organisations and our partners, we hope to reach more people than ever before to inspire people of all ages, to seize the opportunities apprenticeships offer during the Week.

The easiest way to support the Week is to do so on social media and encourage everyone you know to do the same with #NAW2018. If you are interested in learning more about apprenticeships or are an existing or former apprentice, there are two key activities during the Week you can get involved with:

Read more.


MPs launch an enquiry into impact of social media.

Are you concerned about the impact social media and screen-use are having on young people? If so, MPs are looking to hear your thoughts.

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has announced an inquiry into the impact of social media and screen-use on young people's health.

The committee says it wants to hear the views of young people themselves, as well as of teachers and youth workers.

Chairman Norman Lamb said it was vital to assess the benefits and risks.

"Social media and smartphones are increasingly being used by children and young people," he said.

"We want to determine the scale of the issues - separating out the understandable concerns from the hard evidence, and to identify what practical measures people are already taking to boost the benefits and blunt the potential harms.

Read more.


Jersey looks to raise funding for students.

The "significant" rise in UK university costs is one of the reasons a British island is looking to increase its funding to students.

It comes as the prime minister has called for better value for students paying tuition fees in England.

Jersey's government said most of its students chose to study in "the most expensive place in Europe", the UK.

The island's chief minister said he did not want potential students to "worry about financing" university.

The plans - due to be debated in April - apply to first undergraduate degrees in Jersey, the UK, or with the Open University and for "recognised qualifications" at universities outside the UK.

Read more.


Times table test to be trialled for 8 and nine year olds.

Thousands of eight and nine-year-olds in England's primary schools will take a new times tables check this spring.

Some 7,250 pupils in 290 primaries, are expected to take part in the trials of the new multiplication check.

The five-minute test, taken by children in Year 4, will then be fully rolled out over the next two years.

Ministers say the test will identify those struggling, but teaching unions have raised concerns about its benefits.

Supporters have argued that it will help to ensure all children know their tables up to 12 off by heart, but opponents say primary school children are already heavily tested.

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said it was "hugely disappointing" that the Department for Education was still determined to bring in a multiplication tables test.

Read more.


Increased nursery provision in Scotland questioned.

The public spending watchdog has questioned plans to fund increased nursery provision in Scotland.

Audit Scotland said in a report there was a "significant risk" councils would not be able to resource a planned expansion.

The Scottish government has promised to almost double the annual hours in paid-for nursery places to 1,140.

In response to the report, the government repeated its pledge to fully fund the policy.

Ministers plan to meet the new target for nursery provision by August 2020.

Read more.


 

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