ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

for Christians working in education

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

Universities and date rape.

Last year there were 35,699 rape offences and 70,399 other sexual offences reported in the UK, but it’s unknown how many of those took place as a result of date rape drugs. A survey conducted by ITV in 2014 found that 1 in 10 people said that they’d been drink spiked. The NHS estimates on its drink spiking web page that hundreds are spiked in the UK every year. But in reality, the true extent of drink spiking remains unknown.

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Infant pupils having panic attacks.

Children as young as four are suffering from mental health problems such as panic attacks, anxiety and depression, says a teachers' union.

Almost all of the 2,000 who responded to an NASUWT survey said they had come into contact with mentally ill pupils.

Members of the teachers' union suggest schools are struggling to access enough support to deal with the issue.

The Department for Education said it was investing £1.4bn to ensure all children get the help they need.

The NASUWT teachers' union is highlighting the problem at its annual conference in Manchester this weekend and it will also warn of problems with school funding.

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Teachers turning to drink and antidepressants.

Teachers are turning to drink and antidepressants in a bid to deal with the stress and workload of the job, a poll has shown. A consultation of nearly 5,000 teachers revealed that more than a fifth – 22 per cent – had turned to alcohol to help them cope with their work, while over one in 10 – 11 per cent – said they relied on antidepressants. The questionnaire, conducted by the NASUWT, comes as the union’s members voted to explore the possibility of holding national days of strike action, as well as continuous rolling, regional strikes in opposition to excessive workloads.

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Children go hungry in school holidays.

The number of children who are going hungry at home has reached "heartbreaking" levels, the main teaching union has warned.

Four out of five teachers reported a rise in "holiday hunger" among children on free lunches whose families struggle to afford to feed them three meals a day through the holidays, a survey by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) found.

More than one-third (37%) said they saw pupils returning after the school holidays showing signs of being malnourished after starving for extended periods.

A total of 78% also reported children were arriving at class hungry, the union said.

Kevin Courtney, NUT general secretary, said the findings should be a source of shame in modern Britain.

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Increase in loneliness.

More than 4,000 children contacted the Childline telephone support service for help after suffering loneliness last year because they were feeling isolated and "lonely".

Girls were more likely than boys to contact Childline about loneliness. Picture: NSPCC/Tom Hull

The NSPCC said it delivered 4,063 counselling sessions via its Childline service to under-18s in 2016/17, who said they were struggling with feelings of isolation. This was the first year the organisation collected data about the problem, after noticing a rise in calls related to the issue.

Female callers made at least 73 per cent of the calls (2,978), compared with at least 14 per cent made by boys (582 calls). The remaining callers (503) did not disclose their gender.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said there was no single reason why so many children were experiencing isolation. Some callers blamed social media for leading them to make unrealistic life comparisons with other people, which left them feeling "ugly and unpopular".

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Mental health and the internet.

If we continue to focus on how universally dreadful the internet is, we'll miss opportunities to help young people navigate it successfully and safely, writes the former government mental health champion

In 2015, the first-ever shadow mental health minister, Luciana Berger, presented a challenge to health secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Commons.

She asked him what he thought was responsible for the rapid rise in poor mental health among young people, bearing in mind that he acknowledged it as a reality. Mr Hunt didn’t hesitate in replying with one answer and one only: social media.

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51,000 waiting to join scouts.

There are 51,000 children on a waiting list to become Scouts, Beavers, Cubs or Explorers, according to the organisation behind the movement.

The Scout Association, which is open to girls and boys between six and 18, blamed a shortage of volunteer leaders.

It said record numbers of adults were members but that volunteers had limited amounts of time.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said it was a "challenge" to recruit more people.

"We've got 51,000 young people wanting to join and benefit from what scouting offers," he said.

"Volunteering changes us all for the better. Please join me."

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School run parents to be fined.

Parents who use a car on the school run will be fined up to £130 in parts of London to tackle air pollution and dangerous driving, the Standard has learned.

The unprecedented action is being taken around two primaries and could be copied across the capital as part of the escalating battle against toxic air.

Cars will be banned from streets near the schools at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times and pupils will have to walk or cycle to lessons. 

Hackney council is behind the “School Streets” intiative, at St John the Baptist C of E primary, Hoxton, and Tyssen community primary, Stamford Hill.

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Parents to pay more in Northern Ireland.

No education budget means parents will have to pay for after-school activities and music provision, the principal of one Northern Ireland primary school has warned.

Kevin Donaghy, from St Ronan's Primary School in Newry called the situation faced by the school a "crisis".

In a letter to parents, he said politicians had failed to "put aside old animosities and work for the benefit of our children".

He also warned of "devastating cuts".

"It was widely hoped that the different political parties would, for the betterment of all, be able to put aside their differences," he wrote.

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Sharp increase in interest rates on student loans.

Millions of students and former students in England and Wales will face a sharp increase in interest rates on tuition fees and maintenance loans.

The interest rates are linked to inflation - and are set to rise by about a third from 4.6% to up to 6.1%.

It will come in the autumn alongside an increase in tuition fees to £9,250 for universities in England.

The Department for Education is also trying to sell off more student loan debt to private investors.

An education department spokeswoman said that rates for the autumn are "not confirmed" until September.

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