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.

Children subject to air pollution on school run.

Children are five times more exposed to harmful air pollution when travelling to primary schools in London than at any other time of the day, a worrying new study has found.

It also revealed that those who walked to school via backstreets were exposed to the lowest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, even less than those travelling in cars and buses.


Researchers advised that pupils in the capital should avoid using busy roads to walk or cycle to school if they are to reduce their exposure to the toxic air in the city.

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Graduates earn less now.

Graduates born in 1970 enjoyed a much larger "graduate premium" from going to university than those born two decades later, a study has found.

Research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the Department of Economics at Warwick University found that graduates born in 1970 earned 19 per cent more per hour than non-graduates at age 26.

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Three generations under one roof.

Could moving three generations of the same family into a specially-adapted home be a solution to the UK's housing crisis? The Victoria Derbyshire programme met a family who have been taking part in an experiment in Kent.

"It's really nice, because we've got quite a small family, so it's nice to see each other all the time," says trainee chef Dan Cotter.

The 18-year-old lives with his mum, her partner, his sister, niece and uncle in a specially-converted home in the seaside town of Margate.

It is an unusual set-up, pioneered by Kent County Council - which bought the run-down former hotel for £150,000 - and Thanet District Council, as part of a regeneration scheme in one of the most socially-deprived areas in the UK.

Almost £1m was spent converting it into a home appropriate for multi-generational living. Situated over five floors, it has three kitchens, five bathrooms and seven bedrooms.

The Cotters previously lived in three separate homes around the town.

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Child victims of modern slavery.

There has been an eightfold increase in the number of child victims of modern slavery referred by local councils in England for support.

National Crime Agency figures reveal the number of children earmarked for help grew from 127 in 2014 to 1,152 last year - an increase of 807%.

Town hall bosses say the increase has been fuelled by the growing of issue "county-lines" drug gangs.

Councils receive no specific funding for supporting such victims.

Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, it is an offence to hold a person in a position of forced labour or facilitate their travel with the intention of exploiting them soon after.

The act introduced tougher sentences, and more help for people forced into labouring, domestic servitude, sex work or selling drugs.

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Primary school Academy Trust gives food to families.

The biggest primary school academy trust in England is to give food to parents to prevent "family hunger".

The Reach2 trust is going to put "community fridges" in its schools to provide food for families who otherwise would not be able to afford it.

The project is being launched in five schools in the east of England, with the aim of expanding to all of the trust's 60 primary schools.

Trust chief Sir Steve Lancashire says it's "heartbreaking" that it is needed.

"We often hear about children going to school hungry because their families simply cannot afford to provide them with the food that they would want to," says Sir Steve, Reach2's chief executive.

Low wages

"To think that this is happening in 2019 is heartbreaking," said Sir Steve.

He says the problem is "very widespread" in the deprived areas where many of the trust's schools are located.

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Student protests over Uni Hall fees.

Most students settling in at university this autumn are worrying about seminars and exams, but Caitlin Ghibout, a second-year anthropology student at Durham, is angry about rents. Specifically, the fact that the high costs of college accommodation leave a student on the maximum maintenance loan just £1,270 to cover living costs for the year.

This autumn, in parallel with student activists across the country, Ghibout will be launching a Cut the Rent campaign. She wants to challenge her university over the fact that to make ends meet, lots of students are forced to work part-time or to ask their family for help.

“Rents have been rising significantly every year since 2010,” she says. “It’s got to the point where, if you were looking at which university to go to but didn’t have much money, you wouldn’t be able to come to Durham.”

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Financial crisis for school for young blind children.

One of the country's most historic educational centres for young blind people is warning that financial pressures are threatening its survival.

The Royal National College for the Blind, which has operated for almost 150 years, says without extra funding it will cease to be sustainable.

Lucy Proctor, chief executive of the college's charitable trust, has blamed a squeeze on special-needs budgets.

But the government is promising a £700m increase for special needs.

'National asset'

Lord Blunkett, a former student at the college, said he was "very concerned" about the "financial difficulty".

The former education secretary said a "unique national asset" was at risk.

Ms Proctor says there might be a perception that the Hereford college must be well-resourced.

"Even the name makes us sound wealthy," she says.

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By age 7 children are facing lomits on career aspirations.

By the age of seven, children are already facing limits on their future aspirations in work, according to a report from the OECD international economics think tank.

Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's director of education and skills, says "talent is being wasted" because of ingrained stereotyping about social background, gender and race.

He is backing a project from the Education and Employers careers charity to give children a wider understanding of the range of jobs available.

Social mobility barriers

Mr Schleicher says children have begun making assumptions about what type of people will enter different types of work while they are still in primary school.

There are only "minimal changes" in attitudes towards career options between the ages of seven and 17, says the report produced jointly by the OECD and Education and Employers.

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Gambling a growing problem.

Two-fifths of 11- to 16-year-olds have gambled in the past year, research suggests.

Playing fruit machines was the most popular form of gambling, followed by playing cards for money with friends and scratch cards.

Placing a private bet among friends and buying Lotto tickets were also among the top gambling activities.

The Cardiff University research says gambling is an growing problem and more must be done to highlight the risks.

The researchers analysed data from 37,363 11- to 16-year-olds at 193 secondary schools in Wales.

These children had answered questions about gambling as part of the 2017 School Health Research Network Student Health and Wellbeing Survey.

Respondents were asked a range of questions about gambling, including if they had gambled in the past 12 months, how often they had felt bad about gambling and what sorts of gambling they had participated in.

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4 year old takes knife to school.

More than a thousand children were caught with weapons in school last year, according to a survey of 29 police forces in England and Wales.

The weapons included knives, blades, knuckledusters and a Taser stun gun, the Press Association survey found.

The children included a 14-year-old with a sword and a four-year-old with an unnamed weapon.

Head teachers' leader Geoff Barton said the findings were "grim but unsurprising".

The survey, which follows concern about rising levels of knife crime, was based on Freedom of Information data from police forces.

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