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.

Found guilty of running an unregistered school.

A head teacher and her father have been found guilty of running an unregistered school in a run-down building, in the second prosecution of its kind.

Nadia and Arshad Ali were convicted at Westminster Magistrates' Court of running an unregistered private school, Ambassadors High in Streatham.

The school charged £4,500 a year per pupil and had 45 children on the roll.

By law, any institution which has more than five full-time pupils has to be officially registered and inspected.

Mr Ali and the company behind the school were fined, while sentencing of Ms Ali is due to take place on Monday.

Warning notice

In June 2018, inspectors from Ofsted's unregistered schools taskforce visited the school - which was described as having an Islamic ethos - and warned the head teacher, Nadia Ali, that they believed the school was operating illegally.

When inspectors returned a month later they found the school was still open and a second warning notice was issued.

Read more detail.

Children on Brexit.

As #Brexit tensions escalate to new heights in advance of the UK’s potential departure from the EU on Halloween, a poll of British school children today revealed their greatest worries about Brexit.


Quick revision and learning website, Education Quizzes, surveyed 602 school children aged 5–17 in the week ending 7 September and the results suggest they have a firmer grasp of economics than many grown-ups might think.


38% of the kids polled said the main impact of leaving the EU will be that everything will cost more - a risk which may prove very real if a tanking Pound and the imposition of WTO tariffs drive up the cost of Britain’s imports.


Meanwhile, 16% of the pupils polled said that one consequence of Britain leaving the EU is that Europeans will no longer like us. In a similar vein, 14% of those polled think that the UK leaving the EU will mean no more holidays in Europe. Zut alors!


It’s hard to know whether they’re rubbing their hands with glee, or disappointed, but 11% of kids think they will no longer need to study foreign languages from November on, as Brexit will mean we’re less likely to need them. 


Read more.

International students allowed to stay longer.

International students will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduation to find a job, under new proposals announced by the Home Office.

The move reverses a decision made in 2012 by then-Home Secretary Theresa May that forced overseas students to leave four months after finishing a degree.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the change would see students "unlock their potential" and begin careers in the UK.

But campaign group Migration Watch called it a "retrograde" step.

The change will apply to international students in the UK - there were around 450,000 last year - who start courses at undergraduate level or above from next year onwards.

Read more.

Is Charlotte Church running a school at home?

Singer Charlotte Church is facing an investigation amid claims she is running a school at her home without permission.

Earlier this week the soprano revealed plans to accommodate up to 20 pupils in an annex of her home in Dinas Powys.

Vale of Glamorgan Council, which is yet to grant planning permission, said people had complained the building was already being used for teaching.

Read more.

Ms Church denied the claims and insisted she was operating legally.

The council is yet to decide whether or not it will take formal action - but could in theory issue notices telling the singer to either stop or reverse any unauthorised work.

Ms Church plans to open a non-fee paying school for 20 local children aged nine to 12 which will be based at her home only for the first year. 

Oxford University ranked number 1.

Oxford University has been ranked first in an international league table for the fourth year in a row.

The annual Times Higher Education world rankings put Cambridge in third place and Imperial College London in tenth.

But there is a warning from the compilers of the rankings that other UK universities are "struggling to hold their own" against global rivals.

They warn Germany is "poised to overtake" the UK in having the most top universities in Europe.

The annual rankings show Oxford once again named as the best university in the world, ahead of a US university - the California Institute of Technology - in second place.

Read more.

University staff will be more than £200,000 worse off under new pension arrangements

University staff will be more than £200,000 worse off under new pension arrangements as a result of rising contributions and reduced benefits, according to analysis for the University and College Union.

On the eve of a new ballot over strike action at British universities, the UCU published research claiming that a typical member of the UniversitiesSuperannuation Scheme (USS) would pay £40,000 more into their pension but receive almost £200,000 less in retirement as a result of changes introduced since 2011.

The strike ballot is due to open on 9 September at 69 universities with UCU members in the pension scheme and will run until the end of October. Last year more than 40,000 staff took part in sustained and unprecedented strike action over their pensions that brought campuses to a standstill.

Read more.

Super Mario to feature in the classroom.

 Super Mario is set to take his place in UK schools as Japanese gaming giant Nintendo announced it is joining the 'Digital Schoolhouse' programme.

The not-for-profit initiative organised by UKIE is the UK video game industry's answer to the growing skills gap in the country's technology sector, aiming to teach children about computing, technology video games and esports through 'play-based learning'.

Nintendo will join as lead partner, providing hardware for the programme that aims to reach 32,000 pupils in 55 British schools and colleges, using games to teach skills transferable to the workplace.

The company will also host the Digital Schoolhouse esports tournament, which Nintendo say will see 6000 pupils competing on cartoon fighting game Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

Read more.

Space for All? Preparing Pupils for life in Plural Britain.

As part of the CCFE (Christian Coalition for Education), we are holding a day conference on Saturday 28th September at the beautiful venue of Kingham Hill School in Oxfordshire, with easy transport links by train and free mini-bus from the station!

Further details below:


Dispute about leaflet being given out concerning relationships education.

Leaflets claiming that new relationship education lessons will encourage primary school children to masturbate have been handed out in east London, the BBC has learned.

It comes after protests in Birmingham against LGBT teaching made headlines.

Other leaflets said parents "will be questioned on the day of judgement" if they do not challenge the lessons.

Labour councillor Rohit Dasgupta said local officials had a "duty" to counter the "misinformation".

The School Gate Campaign - which distributed the leaflets - has now removed the specific accusation that infants would be "encouraged to masturbate" in its literature, but Mr Dasgupta argued the damage had already been done.

The new flyers say some teaching resources will introduce words like masturbation to juniors. This is written in draft teaching guidance for at least one local authority in England.

Read more.

Diana Award study on bullying.

At least two children in every class has contemplated suicide because of bullying, a study for the Diana Award has revealed.

More than half, (57 per) cent of children say they have been bullied at some point in their school lives, of which almost one in five (17 per cent) say it had made them feel suicidal.

More than three quarters (78 per cent) of those bullied at school say it had made them anxious and more than half (56 per cent) have not been able to sleep at night.

The Diana Award, a charity set up in honour of Princess Diana and which is backed by her son Prince William, campaigns for anti-bullying pupil ambassadors in schools.

In support of the campaign, Labour MP Chrid Elmore reveals for the first time on a video that he thought of taking his own life after bullies kicked him until he bled, urinated on his PE clothes and spat “all over” his face.

“There were points when I was 13/14 years old when I would have happily not have been here anymore. I googled taking my own life. I thought it would have been easier than dealing with the bullies,” he said.

Read more.



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