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.

Dame Margaret Hodge seeks 'payment' for 'voluntary' Uni post.

She has been one of the fiercest critics of companies and institutions which fritter away taxpayers’ money.

But now the veteran Labour MP, Dame Margaret Hodge, is seeking a salary for a voluntary post at a university, it has emerged.

Dame Margaret, the former chair of the public accounts committee, applied to be Chair of Council at Royal Holloway, University of London, which was advertised as an unpaid position.

However, sources have claimed that the former minister said that she would only take up the post if it came with an income of £20,000 per annum.

Dame Margaret, who has served as MP for Barking since 1994, was honoured by the Queen in 2015 for her political and public services.

Read the full account.

Graduate outcomes by provider.


This release updates provider and subject level employment and earnings outcomes of UK domiciled first degree graduates to cover the tax year 2015/16. It provides information on outcomes one, three and five years after graduation from a higher education institution (HEI) in Great Britain or Further Education College (FEC) in England. The focus of this note is the 2009/10 graduating cohort in the 2015/16 tax year (five years after graduation). However, data covering the 2014/15 tax year is also available in the accompanying tables. Data is presented for 23 subject areas and split by sex, subject studied and provider and is, for context, accompanied by information on prior attainment and the Participation of Local Areas (POLAR) classification.

Read the full report.

Free childcare extended to foster carers.

The Government also announces that over 340,000 children were in a 30 hour place in the first year of the policy.

Foster parents will have access to the Government’s flagship 30 hours free childcare offer for three-and-four-year-olds from September, giving them the same rights as other working families in England.

The extension marks a significant step forward in improving the support available for foster families who work, allowing them to take up the additional 15 hours of free childcare already available to other working parents since September 2017.

Today (21 June) the Department for Education has also published data showing over 340,000 children aged three and four years old benefitted from a 30 hours place in its first year, giving thousands of families access to high-quality, affordable childcare. Parents benefiting from the 30 hours free childcare offer can save up to £5,000 per year on their childcare costs, and some parents have been able to increase their work hours or work more flexibly - helping to put more money back in families’ pockets and balancing work and home lives.

Read more.

Schools need more guidance on GDPR.

You may have been sick of getting GDPR emails in your inbox, but for Sheffield schools the headache of data protection changes shows no signs of abating.

Many of us had no idea that the General Data Protection Regulations were looming on the horizon until the flurry of mail activity prior to the May 25 deadline.

There are lots of disagreements between how far schools have to go to ensure they are compliant with the new law


In schools, senior leadership teams may have had an awareness of the implications for their school, but this was only passed down to teaching staff at the last minute in many cases.


Several teachers I know still have very little clue what the new GDPR changes actually mean, which is worrying because parents – and in some cases children – can now flag up breaches which could potentially result in a sizable fine.

Read more.

Are young people lost to the internet?

There’s a reflex negativity when people talk about teenagers online. What are they doing – for it surely must be something bad? And why are they doing it – for they surely can’t have good reason? And how can we limit their use – because it’s obvious that we must stop them doing this mysterious / pointless / boring / dangerous stuff?

However, this attitude shows a vast lack of understanding, which ultimately will fail the young people who will, whether we like it or not (and I do) grow up in a digital world. We need to understand – properly, deeply, in an evidence-based way – the benefits and the risks of online life. And to do that, we first have to understand humans.

Contrary to popular opinion, teenagers are simply humans. But every human has a context, provided by their past and present, and including their stage of life. Teenagers are humans in a teenage context. They also have individual contexts, but it is the teenage experience I’m focusing on.

Read more.

More data available for students to make choices.

Job prospects and graduate salary are two of the most important factors for students when it comes to deciding which university to attend, the Universities Minster has revealed today (21 June).

The new research undertaken by the Department for Education (DfE) shows the value of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) for prospective students.  It comes on the same day that the DfE released a record amount of data showing graduate outcomes for every university in England - revealing the average earnings and likelihood of employability 1, 3 and 5 years after graduation.

The new information highlights the huge variations in outcomes depending on what subject and where students go to study, demonstrating just how this information can help students and their families find the right place for them. For example, for Economics graduates the median earnings ranged from £17,000 at the lowest institution to £68,600 at the highest 5 years after graduation , whereas for Medicine and Dentistry median earnings range  between £42,100 and £49,800.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said:

This Government is increasing the information available to students so that they can make informed choices about what and where to study.

I am hugely encouraged to see that students and applicants are already using the TEF to inform their decision about where to study. Their voice is helping to develop the new subject-level TEF and helping to put even more clear information into the hands of students.

We know that employability and salary are key things that students look at when deciding where to study, but for many it goes beyond this and that’s why we’ve made the decision to publish over half a million cells of data showing graduate outcomes for every university.

With more data than ever before being made available to students, Sam Gyimah has also announced plans to work with coders and tech companies to create new digital tools to help students choose where to study.

The Universities Minister will unveil the competition to create this app, worth £125,000 on Monday, 25 June.

Criticisms of NI education system.

If the education system in Northern Ireland was a business it would have "folded years ago", NI's commissioner for children and young people has said.

Koulla Yiasouma made the comments in her inaugural report.

Her report also claimed that resources have not been spent properly to address poverty and mental health concerns.

It adds that many of the problems pre-dated the collapse of the Stormont executive.

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning devolved government since power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Féin collapsed 18 months ago.


Subsequent talks have failed to restore power-sharing.

The 'Statement on Children's Rights in Northern Ireland' report highlights "systemic failures" in areas including education, poverty and mental health.

Read more.

Strongly perfoming councils to take schools from struggling MATS?

Strongly performing local councils should to be able to take on schools in struggling academy trusts, according to the Education Policy Institute (EPI).

The government also needs to be able to identify academy chains that are at risk of significant failure and ensure sponsors exist to take on their schools, according to a new report.

The recommendations come in a report, published today, comparing the performance of groups of schools in both academy trusts and local authorities.

Read more.

Increased NHS funding puts pressure on schools.

The government’s decision to hand the NHS an extra £20 billion will put pressure on schools, a funding expert has told MPs.

Luke Sibieta, research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said Theresa May’s policy announcement “poses quite severe challenges” for the Department for Education.


Speaking to the education select committee, Mr Sibieta said there would be “pressures” in light of the government’s promised NHS funding boost.

Read more.

Harder for young prople to buy knives.

The Offensive Weapons Bill will make it harder for young people to buy knives and acid online with sellers requiring rigorous age verification to prove those purchasing knives or corrosives are over 18. Failure to do so will leave them liable for prosecution.

The Bill will also ban possession of weapons such as zombie knives, knuckle dusters and death stars both in public and private. Those who do will be forced to hand them in.

As part of the new legislation the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has been clear in his support to police officers, with measures in the Bill ensuring that the police have the powers to seize illegal weapons whenever they are found.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

It is totally wrong that young people are able to get their hands on dangerous weapons such as knives and harmful acids.

That is why we are making the laws around this even tighter.

Earlier this week I saw the great work our front line officers do to keep our communities safe – and I am determined to do everything I can to help them keep weapons off our streets.

Read more.


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