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.

Pray for Schools fortnight 10th -24th May

Pray for Schools fortnight 10th - 24th May.

Pray for Schools Fortnight

10th-24th May 2018

Thy Kingdom Come

 Colossians 4 v 2-3


Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…’


The vision of Pray for Schools fortnight is to bring together people from local churches and others involved in education – parents, students, teachers, governors, staff and volunteers – to pray strategically for schools in their area and those involved in them.

This year we are working with Thy Kingdom Come

‘One day some parents brought their children to Jesus, so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left’ Matthew 19;13-15 NLT

See our new resources for 2018 –  PFS Resources Thy Kingdom Come

Over the last few years Pray for Schools fortnight has become widely known with other organisations with a heart for young people choosing to pray with us.  We have produced a Resource Pack to help you find out more: 

PFS Fortnight Resource Pack 2018


Mental Health Awareness week.

Young people and parents are set to benefit from extended mental health services in Hastings, backed by a £600,000 annual investment from the government’s Opportunity Area programme.

The funding will develop the advice and support services available for young people in Hastings to improve their emotional wellbeing at home, school or further education, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced during a visit to Sussex Coast College in Hastings yesterday (17 May) to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

Hastings is one of 12 Opportunity Areas identified as social mobility ‘coldspots’ which are receiving a share of £72million to raise aspirations and opportunities for the young people who live there.

Read more.

Is Academy dream beginning to die?

Was this the week that the academies dream died?

Between Damian Hinds’ accountability announcements 10 days ago at NAHT conference and then Friday’s DfE response to the Green Paper consultation on faith and grammar schools, I’m beginning to think so.

Why? Well it’s been a very significant few days of education policy.

Firstly, last week’s accountability regime proposal explicitly downgraded the likelihood forced conversion. The only circumstance where that will happen is when a school is put in special measures by Ofsted. Falling below the floor standard, whatever that looks like, will no longer play a big part as a trigger. That was hugely significant.

Read more.

Are the secularists winning in faith school argument?

The government’s u-turn on its manifesto promise to lift the 50% cap on faith-based admissions to new religious free schools is a positive development – and a significant win for secularists who have vigorously opposed the measure.



The cap on faith admissions to new academies was introduced “to support inclusivity and tolerance” and remains the only tangible action the government has taken to tackle the discrimination and segregation wrought by faith schools. The government is right to backtrack on this contrvaersial policy proposal and keep this limited measure in place.

Read more.

Academies and faith schools raise standards.

Academies and faith schools raise standards 'because it makes them compete'

  • Mix of academies, free schools, faith schools and grammars drives up standards
  • Schools vie with each other to achieve better results and to attract pupils
  • Researchers based conclusions on test results of 15-year-olds in 34 countries 

Read more.

Legal action on grammar school plans?

Anti-grammar school campaigners are exploring taking legal action against the Government’s “shady” plans to expand selective education. Comprehensive Future, whose aim is to abolish the 11-plus, has launched a crowdfunder to raise cash in a bid to step up its fight against the Department for Education’s proposals. Education Secretary Damian Hinds last week announced the first £50m of its £200m Selective Education Expansion Fund to enable existing grammars to extend their premises.

 Read more.

Post Brexit fall in HE predicted.

Post-Brexit Britain could decline from “second in the world to 20th” in higher education and research if the inflow of academic talent is restricted and the nation exits the European Union research frameworks, UCL president Michael Arthur has warned MPs.

Professor Arthur, who leads on Brexit issues for the Russell Group, made the comment at a hearing on science and research issues held by the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee. 

Read more.




School funding crisis deepens.

The impact of the school funding crisis on the level of individual support that schools are able to offer their students is set to worsen over the next 12 months, according to a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

More than half (56%) of school business leaders say cost savings have resulted in reduced individual support for students over the past 12 months, but over the next 12 months this rises to 65% who expect that cost savings will result in reduced support.

Similarly, 23% say that funding pressures have resulted in reduced mental health support over the past 12 months, but this figure rises to 32% who expect this to be the case over the next 12 months.

Read more.

Apprenticeship starts continue to plummet.

The drop in apprenticeship starts since the introduction of the levy is getting even more severe, the latest government statistics reveal.

In February 2018 there were 21,800 apprenticeship starts – down by 40 per cent from the 36,400 starts in February 2017 reported at this point last year.

The drop is even more pronounced than that reported in January, when the decline in starts stood at 31 per cent.

Overall, there were 232,700 apprenticeship starts between August 2017 and February 2018 – down by 25 per cent from the equivalent period in 2016-17.

The figures are provisional, with the final data due to be published in November.

Read more.

Catholic schools more relevant than ever

Catholic schools are “more relevant than ever”, Scotland’s leading historian has told Tes Scotland on the 100th anniversary of their entry into the state sector.

However, others remain sceptical that Catholic schools are capable of adapting to societal changes such as the demand for education that is inclusive of LGBT young people.

Historian Sir Tom Devine (pictured above) told Tes Scotland that Catholic schools were “more relevant than ever” because challenges such as “gross materialism” and “the extraordinary seduction of the mass media” make a “values-based education” all the more important.

Read more.


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