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for Christians working in education

The life
A Christian perspective on society and the education industry for the Christian professional in education.

Help for disabled students at Uni?

Going to university is no longer the preserve of a privileged few. Thanks to successive reforms under this government, including a generous student finance system and the abolition of student number controls, anyone who aspires to a higher education can achieve it.

Students of all backgrounds and circumstances are unlocking the potential of a university education and widening their horizons. This includes record numbers of students with a disability.

New figures show 94,120 new students with a disability enrolled at university in England in 2017/18 – that’s up by more than 6,000 on the previous academic year and by some 26,000 since 2013/14. This is an achievement of which we can rightly be proud.

But we must not become complacent. The number of students with a disability starting university is still below the proportion of working-age adults with a disability. So I want us all to do more to show disabled students that going to university can be an option for them.

Nobody should ever be held back from pursuing their dreams by their background or circumstances. And there is certainly no reason why disability should stand in the way of someone going to university and fulfilling their potential.

As part of the government’s commitment to bringing down barriers to access, students with a disability can already access Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). These are grants to help students with any extra costs they may incur as a direct result of their disability. Students can use DSAs to cover the costs of specialist equipment, personal support, non-medical helpers or travel costs.

Read more.


Truancy prosecutions soar.

Prosecutions of parents for their child's truancy soar to 20,000 a year after a ban on term-time holidays

  • Figures reveal a 57% increase of parent prosecutions for truancy from 2011-2017  
  • Schools were told to not let families take children out of class for holiday in 2013
  • Many parents flouted rules to avoid paying high holiday prices in peak season

Read more.


Pushed into higher education.

A survey of 1,500 recent school leavers found two thirds were urged to go into higher education by teachers, while almost six out of ten said their parents wanted them to pick that option.

For the most part however, teens said their parents were supportive of whichever path they decided to follow.

But one in five did say their parents pushed 'too hard' to pick further education.

The study, carried out ahead of the deadline for UCAS applications on 15 January, also found seven in 10 kids asked their parents for advice on what to do with their lives.

Read more.


University 'false promise'?

Up to a quarter of students in England are doing degrees that will not give them sufficient earnings to justify the cost of their loans, a think tank says.

The centre-right group urges ministers to cut places on those courses offering little financial return and increase those in post-18 technical education.

Its report also says tax breaks of up to 50p in every pound owed should be offered to graduates repaying loans.

The government is carrying out a review of post-18 education and funding.

The Onward report acknowledges that "education has a value in its own right" and that "earning a living is not the only reason people study" but says too many young people "are being sold a false promise".

"Too many are facing hefty repayments for degrees that won't help them financially and too few are being offered quality technical and apprenticeship options instead," it says.

Read more.


Christians trying to home educate in Germany did not have human rights breached.

German parents whose four children were taken into care because they refused to send them to school did not have their human rights breached, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled.

Home education is banned in Germany but the Wunderlich family, from Darmstadt, who are Christian, wished to educate their children in this way.

Their four children were taken into care for three weeks in 2013.

Afterwards the parents took their case to the ECHR in Strasbourg,

They claimed their right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been breached.

But the court has now ruled that taking the children into care was justified.

The ECHR said officials in Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, were reasonable in assuming the parents had "endangered their children by not sending them to school".

Read more.


U turn on 2 child benefit rule.

About 15,000 families no longer face having their benefits capped after the government performed another U-turn over its flagship universal credit.

The work and pensions secretary has ditched plans to extend a benefits cap on families of more than two children.

Amber Rudd said those with children born before the system began in 2017 would remain exempt, as she aimed to ensure it was "compassionate and fair".

The Child Poverty Action Group said the decision was "fantastically good news".

However, the group is still calling for the two-child cap to be scrapped for all other families.

Read more.


University of Northampton campus cops.

Reported crime levels at a university reached a six-year high before it began paying for police to patrol its new campus, the BBC has learned.

The University of Northampton is spending £774,027 on a team of Northamptonshire Police officers over the next three academic years.

Crimes reported from September 2012 to July 2018 included burglary, blackmail and sexual assault.

The university said student and staff safety and security was "a priority".

About 12,000 of the university's 13,000 students are based at its £350m Waterside Campus, which opened in September.

Read the detail.


Children exceed maximum recommended sugar intake early.

Children in the UK exceed the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18-year-old by the time they are 10, according to experts.

This is based on their total sugar consumption from the age of two, says Public Health England (PHE).

Children consume much more than they should, around eight excess sugar cubes a day or 2,800 excess cubes per year.

PHE said a pudding tax should be considered if companies fail to reduce the amount of sugar in their products.

The organisation also wants families to cut back to help tackle obesity, tooth decay and other illnesses linked to excess sugar.

    

Choosing lower-sugar foods and drinks can make a difference.

Read the detail.


1 in 10 bullied in Wales?

Individual school policies on bullying should be replaced by a national strategy, a leading expert has said.

Bangor University's Prof Judy Hutchings said bullying decreased in Finland after this approach was adopted.

One in 10 secondary school pupils in Wales are bullied weekly and 35% have been targeted in the last two months, according to figures from the Schools Health Research Network.

The Welsh Government is reviewing the guidance it provides to schools.

The Children's Commissioner for Wales, Prof Sally Holland, believes statutory recording of incidents would make schools more accountable, but wants to avoid a league table "naming and shaming" schools.

    

Bangor University researchers have been introducing a programme from Finland called KiVa, with the first 14 schools to take part reporting a 40% reduction in bullying, and 123 more schools registering on the scheme.

Read more.


Bad behaviour forces teachers out.

Schools are facing a shortage of teachers as pupil numbers increase at the same time as recruitment slows and retaining qualified members of staff in schools becomes more difficult. Around a third of teachers are reported to leave the professionwithin five years of qualifying: I was one of them.

The retention crisis has been blamed on excessive workload and an ‘audit culture’ that generates layers of bureaucracy, uncompetitive salaries, a lack of clear paths for career progression and poor job satisfaction.

Now, as Head of Education at Policy Exchange, I am pleased to shine a light on another reason teachers are leaving the classroom: having to deal with persistent disruptive behaviour. In the words of one teacher we interviewed: “It just grinds you down.” This phrase became the title of our report because it best sums up the frustration of dealing with constant bad behaviour while trying to teach.

Read more.


 

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