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The week
News items from the week’s daily and education press, covering the major education news stories of the week.

ACT AGM and Education Conference Saturday 24th November - Book today.

THE ACT AGM IS JUST TWO WEEKS AWAY - PLEASE SEE THE DETAILS BELOW - PLEASE BOOK TODAY  - if you email me at and I will email you the paper work for the meeting.


Association of Christian Teachers AGM.



Education Conference and ACT AGM Saturday 24th November.

“Identity, Sexuality and the Gospel: A better story for our schools”


A day conference for all Christians involved and interested in Education



Aim of the conference:  To provide a collegial forum for Christians involved in education (Heads, Teachers, TAs, Governors, parents and others) to develop a view of education which is authentically Christian and to be equipped to face the social and political challenges in the UK today., especially as they affect views on identity, sexuality, marriage and the family.


Date:  Saturday 24 November 2018


Venue:  St. Ebbe’s Church, Oxford (central Oxford: easily reached from Oxford Station or Park & Ride buses)


Cost: Delegates are asked to contribute £10 towards the costs of the conference.


Principal speakers: Dr. Stanton Jones, Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, Illinois, USA; Rev. Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St. Ebbe’s; Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester. We shall also be hearing from a variety of politicians and seminar leaders. 

Dr. Stanton Jones writes that he hopes to cover the following topics during the course of the day:

  • Understand the “spirit of the times” that is eroding the traditional stance of Christians globally on sexuality and sexual ethics;
  • Strengthen the ability to articulate persuasively and positively a Christian understanding of sexuality that is comprehensive and compelling;
  • Deepen your appreciation for the contributions to and limitations of science in enhancing our understandings of persons and their sexuality
  • Understand a model of character development that will foster effective teacher-student-parent collaboration and communication and set a redemptive context for effective child discipline;
  • Cast a vision for family, school and church collaboration in enhancing the internalization of Christian morality by our students



Programme for the day:


 9.45 -   Coffee and register

10:00 – Introduction – Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

10:20 – Devotional – Rev. Vaughan Roberts

10:50 – Introducing Dr. Stanton Jones

11:00 – Keynote Address: Stanton Jones

12:00 – Q & A

12:30 – Lunch

13:15 – Seminar Options – moving to rooms

13:30 – Seminars

14:30 – Politician 1

14:45 – Politician 2

15:00 – Politician 3

15:15 – Panel Discussion (Q & A) with all speakers

15:45 – Round-Up – Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

16:00 – Finish  


Seminar Topics will be announced shortly, as will the names of the Politicians attending. One seminar will be led by Dr. Stanton Jones, developing the ideas he will have set out in his main talk. Another seminar will be led by Guy Hordern and Ron Skelton on Religious Education and Collective Worship. A third seminar will deal with legal issues which affect Christian teachers in schools.


Refreshments and lunch: we suggest that people bring their own lunch: tea and coffee will be provided. 


All are most welcome: How to Register -

Please send an email saying who will be coming to Hugh Bradby

If you wish to send your £10 now, cheques may be made out to TISCA and mailed to Box 4462, Leamington Spa CV31 9EG. Otherwise please pay on the door.

Alternatively, you may book for the conference on Eventbritehere:

Religious Education Council Meeting 9th November at Jewish Museum Camden.

Authorised representatives of member organisations heard a keynote address from Dr Joyce Miller, one of the members of the Commission on Religious Education (CoRE).  There were table discussions on the ways in which the REC could build on the recommendations in the CoRE report.

There were brief reports from the REC Chair, Treasurer and Company Secretary.  There was a vote on a membership application: members voted that the United Synagogue application satisfied the RE Council’s membership criteria by 36 votes to 1.

There was a comprehensive report from Chief Executive Rudolf Eliott Lockhart on the RE Council’s activities over the previous six months.  Click here for the full text of the report.

The Chair, Trevor Cooling, made a statement on the Board’s decision to endorse the Commission on Religious Education’s Final ReportClick here for the full text of this statement.

Sikh school calls for help from Education Secretary.

A local Sikh community has called on the education secretary to intervene in the case of a faith school it fears is being pushed into joining a trust that it claims does not reflect its beliefs.

The case reveals how minority-faith-based academies do not have the same government support in academisation as other faiths.

The local community of Coventry all-through free school the Seva School has come together with national Sikh organisations to request that education secretary Damian Hinds meets parents to address concerns about the school joining the Nishkam School Trust.

Seva School, which has been in special measures since September 2016, is run by the Sevak Education Trust, but needs to be rebrokered to a new sponsor.

Local groups claim the DfE is pushing the Nishkam School Trust as its preferred choice, even though parents favour the Khalsa Academies Trust.

While Nishkam is registered as having a Sikh religious character, parents from Seva have argued that the trust operates a “self-created multi-faith ethos model” and does not offer a mainstream Sikh education.

Read more.

Child Protection Joint Inspection Guidance.

All JTAIs include an evaluation of the multi-agency ‘front door’ services for child protection, when children at risk of harm first become known to local services. They also include a ‘deep dive’ investigation. The ‘deep dive’ evaluates the experiences of children and young people at risk of a specific type (or types) of harm, or the support and care of children in care and/or care leavers. This part of the JTAI changes periodically to investigate different themes.

Read more.

Two Islamic schools have been reported to the Government for segregating boys and girls on their premises.

Two Islamic schools have been reported to the Government for segregating boys and girls on their premises.

The Avecinna Academy and The Wisdom Academy in Birmingham  were flagged up for 'sex discrimination' by education watchdog Ofsted.

Avecinna was found to be practicing segregation across year groups including during break times while Wisdom was said to be “failing to prepare students for life in modern Britain”.

Ofsted inspectors said in their reports that the mixed sex schools were in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

At Avecinna an independent school for up to 100 pupils aged 11 to 17 boys and girls were found being taught on separate floors of the building.

Read more.

UK needs more engineers.

It is widely accepted that the UK needs more engineers. Not enough young people, in particular women, are entering careers in design and construction. Research by the Institute for Engineering and Technology last year, found that only 15% of companies surveyed make particular efforts to attract and retain women in engineering and technical roles and just over one in ten of the UK engineering and technical workforce is female. 

Undoubtedly the industry must do much more to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce, but efforts to attract more people into these professions, must also begin much earlier. Currently the government’s education policies are not only failing to encourage more young people to choose a career in this sector, but proactively preventing it.

This year, technical qualifications entitled “Design Engineer Construct! The Digital Built Environment” (DEC) have not been approved by the Department of Education in England. This is a learning program which has been developed to create and inspire the next generation of Built Environment professionals.

But as the technical qualifications gained from this the program have been dismissed, DEC is now at risk of being dropped by schools across the country.  The exam results no longer count in school league tables, and therefore schools are very likely to simply cut the program altogether.

This is in itself illustrative of a wider problem in in our education system: that schools are pressured to focus only on teaching things which can be neatly measured in league tables, rather than simply on providing a broad, balanced education which equips children with all the skills they need to get on in life. 

The Conservative government’s obsession with league tables means that any course or program that does not provide points, will not see the light of day. The toxic culture this creates - of competition between schools as they vie for a better ranking than their neighbours, based on a narrow set of criteria - takes valuable focus away from quality teaching and learning. 

Similarly, the Government’s bias towards academic subjects which can be easily measured in exams, means that subjects which lend themselves more naturally to project-based learning (like DEC) are neglected. 

For all of their talk of valuing vocational education, until the Government are willing to rethink the undue emphasis they place on league tables and high states, exam-based assessment, then more practical subjects like building and engineering will continue to be deprioritized. And at a time when school budgets are being slashed, and teachers are chronically overworked, that often translates into them being written out of the curriculum altogether.

Ultimately the measure of a good education system is whether it provides every child with the opportunities and skills to fulfil their potential - whichever path they choose to follow. This must include young people who prefer more practical and vocational subjects. 

We should be focussing less on narrow measures of academic success and more on ensuring every young person is aware of the full range of career opportunities which are open to them. If the Government wants to live up to its own rhetoric about valuing vocational education – and if they want to ensure we have a thriving construction and engineering sector in future – then they must allow these subjects to flourish in our schools.

Lord Redesdale is a Liberal Democrat peer



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Analysis of growth in need for Secondary school places.

There is a growing demand for secondary school places in England. Zoe Claymore explores what the data tells us and the possible implications for schools and teachers


With rapidly rising pupil numbers, a current shortage of places in one-fifth of local authorities and high parental expectations, secondary school admissions are arguably about to come under even more of a spotlight than usual.

Demand has already risen

Nationally, pupil numbers in state secondary schools have risen by 69,000 since January 2013 and now stand at nearly 2.85 million (as of January 2018), the highest level since the start of the decade. Secondary school applications also rose by 83,000 between 2013 and 2018, a rise of 17 per cent. 

School applications data also shows that 96 per cent of local authorities had more applications in 2018 than they had five years previously. However, although most of the local authorities in England have seen some growth over this period, as Figure 1 shows, growth rates differed significantly by region.

Parents and teachers fight academisation plans for their school.

Parents and teachers at one of the oldest state schools in the country have become the latest to take up the fight against plans to remove their school from local authority control and force it to become an academy.

The John Roan school, which has been teaching children in Greenwich, south-east London for more than 300 years, was made the subject of an academy order earlier this year after an Ofsted inspection found it was “inadequate”.

About 60 teachers at the school, who belong to the National Education Union (NEU), walked out on Wednesday for their eighth day of strike action supported by parents of some of the 1,200 pupils, under the campaign banner John Roan Resists.

Read the full story.

Welsh schools get replacement school to prevent overcrowding.

Two schools will be closed and replaced with a new one as part of a £12.7m plan to tackle overcrowding.

Gwynedd Council cabinet members voted unanimously in favour of plans to shut Ysgol Babanod Coedmawr and Ysgol Glanadda in Bangor by 31 August 2020.

A replacement school will be built close to the site of Ysgol y Garnedd, doubling its current capacity to 420.

One governor told a review that Ysgol y Garnedd pupils were currently packed in "like sardines".

Cabinet member for education, Gareth Thomas, said the plan would ensure children were educated in "a learning environment fit for the 21st Century".

how to attract back international students.

Overseas student numbers are "flatlining" and the government must "press reset" to tempt them back, says a cross-party group of MPs and Lords.

International students bring huge benefits, but restrictive policies mean they increasingly go to the US, Canada or Australia, says the report.

A key recommendation is to remove students from immigration targets.

This contradicts a recent Migration Advisory Committee report which found no clear case for such a change.

However, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Studentsargues that the UK has few greater assets than its education system, which delivers prosperity and opportunity across the regions and nations of the UK.

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