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.

Christian parents need to take a stand.

“The teaching of LGBT relationships in schools has triggered heated protests outside schools in Birmingham, largely by members of the Muslim community.  While they may not have made the national headlines, many Christian parents are just as concerned about what is being taught to their children in schools under the guise of equality and ‘British values’. ” – Christian Today, Sat 19th Oct

Read the full article and interview with VFJUK CEO, Rev Lynda Rose, on why more Christian parents need to take a stand.

Read more.

Update on Birmingham protests.

Birmingham city council has applied to the court to have its injunction banning parental protests outside Anderton Park Primary School made permanent.  In other words, they want a permanent exclusion zone round Anderton where parents will be forbidden to gather – to protest, criticise staff or hand out leaflets ( lgbt-lessons-protesters-from-near-school).  We await the judgment.

Anderton is situated in a predominantly Muslim area and, unsurprisingly, has mainly Muslim pupils.  The protestors – in the main, parents – want the school to stop promoting and normalising LGBT behaviours and life-style choices to children as young as 3, and teaching them that gender is a matter of choice, not biology.  They say that such teaching is not just deeply confusing, but that it also goes against the basic tenets of their faith.

Read more detail.

"Arts Education should not be a luxury."

Julie Hesmondhalgh, the actor and campaigner, has accused policymakers of conspiring to limit access to arts and culture for British children.

Reacting to a report into school provision, Hesmondhalgh told the Observer she was dismayed that arts education was now seen as a luxury. “The idea it is not career-oriented is so wrong. And anyway, what happened to the idea of learning for learning’s sake? It is so depressing.”

The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education has called for the arts to be woven through the learning process and no longer regarded as a specialism. The report condemned a growing inequality of provision that results in the “neglect and exclusion” of youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Read more.

Pearson FE Awards.

A college lecturer and a sixth form college are among 13 winners honoured in the 2019 Pearson Teaching Awards for their inspirational work in education.

The winners received their awards, which recognise “inspirational” education, at a glamorous ceremony this evening hosted by BBC presenters Tina Daheley and Sean Fletcher. The ceremony, at the Roundhouse in Camden, will be broadcast on BBC2 on Saturday, October 26, as “Britain’s Classroom Heroes”.

Now in their 21st year, the Pearson Teaching Awards celebrate the best teaching across the UK, and gold winners are nominated for awards by pupils, parents and colleagues.

Eleven schools and school teachers were also honoured, as covered by our sister paper Schools Week.

Read more.

Shine in Schools.

Shine in Schools is a 3 week video resource that is designed for use in groups in secondary schools. This year’s videos have just been released and as a team we are excited about the impact they could have, but we do need help in letting people know about Shine. Is this something that you could help us with please through your channels and networks? Actuality seems like an obvious place, but I am not sure under which heading it would sit. Christian teachers are key practitioners or gate-keepers for Christian groups in schools so being able to let them know about Shine would be amazing.


The theme this year is ‘Fearless’ and for groups that are made up of mainly non-Christian young people, the videos explore the difference that Jesus can make to the everyday fears they face – fears of failure, rejection, the unknown etc. Left unchecked these fears can have an impact on young people’s well being and mental health.


And for groups that consist of mainly Christian young people, a separate set of videos address the fears that they may have about sharing their faith with their friends.


To give you a bit more information, I have attached an information sheet.


Here is a link to the Scripture Union website that has more information and links to the Shine website itself:

Exclusion play.

In a Victorian Gothic church behind Harrods in west London, a group of young people from troubled backgrounds have gathered to rehearse a play about school.

Excluded is a new production, set in a turbulent GCSE class in a London secondary school in 2019, that attempts to shine a light on the problems faced by vulnerable young people within the education system.

The content of the play is close to home. At an early workshop exploring the issues, it emerged that all but two of the young performers had been excluded from school. Some are care leavers, some have mental health problems, others have been young offenders. Many have been affected by the consequences of knife crime, which they link to the increasing number of exclusions.

Read more.

Lakes Academies Trust in controversy.

Tony Draper, a former president of the NAHT heads' union, is chief executive of the Lakes Academies Trust, in Milton Keynes, where one of the primary schools has this year been downgraded by Ofsted from "outstanding" to "inadequate".

According to today’s Times newspaper,  a picture of a yacht was also posted on his Instagram account with the caption: “Sod all you bl**dy peasants. I’m having one of these and cruising the Adriatic — because I’m worth it.”

Read more.

AQA fined over re-marks.

AQA has been fined £350,000 – the largest ever handed out by Ofqual – and will compensate schools and colleges by £740,000 after “serious breaches” of rules over re-marks.

The exam board failed to ensure re-marks and moderation were not carried out by the original marker, or by someone with no personal interest in the outcome.

Ofqual said around 50,000 re-marks or moderations were affected, equating to around 7 per cent of all re-marks carried out by the exam board each year.

Read more.

"Failure" of Free School programme.

The Government's flagship free schools programme has failed to help white working class communities where education outcomes are the lowest, according to new research.

The analysis also found that the performance of free schools is “mixed”, with the strong results of some schools partly driven by the fact they take pupils from neighbourhoods which generally achieve good results anyway.

Read more.

Why St John’s, Oxford, is the best Oxbridge college, according to our league table.

St John’s tops our exclusive Oxbridge college league table, a first-of-its-kind ranking of Oxford and Cambridge colleges that combines an abundance of explorable data with the opinions of our panel of recent graduates. 

But how do you rank the best of the best in Britain?

We designed our league table to help school leavers compare the more than 50 colleges on everything from academic performance to availability of accommodation to location and gender and state/private school balance. Panels of recent alumni offer the more colourful low-down on what life at each college is actually like. 

So why does St John's College (Oxford) come top? It doesn't have the best score in any of our four categories (financial assets, academic performance, accommodation and lifestyle), but its consistently solid scores across each of them means that it comes top overall. 

St John’s, whose alumni include Tony Blair and Philip Larkin, scores 9.9/10 in financial assets, 9.7/10 in academic performance, 8.9/10 in accommodation and 8.2/10 in lifestyle, giving the college an overall score of 36.7/40. 

Read more.


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