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.

Farms helping the lives of disadvantaged young people.

A couple of years ago, I met Adam (not his real name) at a farm in Dorset. Adam was 14 and had been excluded from mainstream education due to behavioural difficulties and a disruptive home life. He had consequently become involved in regular underage drinking and antisocial behaviour. Adam was being exploited and groomed as a drug runner for a London drug gang infiltrating rural areas. He told me that he had been given a knife by gang members and encouraged to use it to protect himself if necessary against rival gangs or local drug dealers.

The farm where I met him is not a normal farm, but a social one, where the therapeutic use of farming practices and animal assisted therapy is used to provide health, social and educational care services for disadvantaged young people that have become disengaged with mainstream education. Stories such as Adam’s are growing increasingly familiar to staff at the farm he attended, who see other vulnerable young people referred to their service.

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Welsh children go hungry over holidays.

More children than ever in Wales could go hungry over the six-week school break, it is being warned.

Foodbank networks said they are bracing themselves for increased demand.

Councils in deprived parts of Wales have been allocated £1m over two years to help feed children during the holiday period.

"In the 21st Century I think it's incredibly sad that children are going hungry," one senior council figure told BBC Wales.

Bernie Attridge, the deputy leader of Flintshire council, added: "During term time they can go to breakfast clubs and they get free school dinners, but once they break up, it's frightening to think that some families can't afford food."

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Young people very sensible.

Rebellions of young people have been recorded for decades, bucking trends and breaking the rules before entering the world of being a boring grown-up.

But a new generation is coming through and truly shocking society.

How? By becoming more sensible.

For example, a survey conducted by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service showed teenagers are becoming less likely to have sex, preferring to spend time with their families and having romantic relationships online.

These graphs show how under-25s are shunning vices that have been - perhaps unfairly - associated with their age group.

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Poor mental health "part and parcel" of childhood.

Poor mental health has become "part and parcel" of childhood for many children, England's Children's Commissioner says.

Anne Longfield says there is currently a children's mental health epidemic.

"The fact of the matter is that poor mental health has become part and parcel of childhood for many many children and it affects every aspects of their lives as they grow up, these formative years.  

"I think we are seeing a real shift here in children's mental health.

"It affects their achievements in school, their friendships, their self-confidence, their self-belief and ultimately their future. And I think it's happened fast and it's happened at scale."

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Australia more popular for overseas students.

Australia is overtaking the UK as the world's second biggest destination for international students, says research from University College London.

Researchers at UCL's Centre for Global Higher Education say the UK is being pushed into third place behind the United States and Australia.

Australia has been rapidly expanding its international student numbers.

The British Council says it shows the UK needs to "look again" at its policies towards overseas students.

An analysis this year found that overseas students added £20bn to the UK's economy - and universities in the UK have warned that immigration rules after Brexit will need to be more welcoming for students.

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Children who can't catch.

Clumsy children who struggle to catch a ball are less likely to perform well in reading,  writing and maths exams, a study has found.

The research raises the possibility that schools could provide extra support to children who lack hand-eye coordination, psychologists said.

More than 300 children aged between four and 11 took part in various computer tasks for the study, led by researchers at the University of Leeds.

Their co-ordination and interceptive timing was tested by their ability to interact with a moving object.

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Gender divide in university applications.

The gulf between the numbers of men and women applying to university has widened, official figures show.

New Ucas statistics reveal almost 98,000 more women than men had applied by the end of last month to start degree courses this autumn.


The figures are likely to spark fresh debate about why there is a gender divide.

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A mothers place 'in the home'?

A woman's place may no longer be in the home - but if she has pre-school children, it should be, according to an annual survey of social attitudes.

Only 7% of British Social Attitudes survey interviewees felt mothers of under-5s should have full-time jobs.

Part-time work was judged acceptable by 38% - but one in three felt those with under-5s should be stay-at-home mums.

Meanwhile, 72% disagreed that "a man's job is to earn money - a woman's job is to look after home and family".

Older people, unqualified people and those on lower incomes were more likely to support a traditional view of women as homemakers and men as breadwinners.


A representative random sample of 3,988 adults were interviewed between July and October 2017.

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University entry should look at background too.

The university access watchdog says students' backgrounds should be taken into account when awarding places, to improve "equality of opportunity".

A-level grades are a "robust measure" only if the applicants' "context" is also considered, Chris Millward says.

Many universities give extra help to disadvantaged applicants - but a report warns of a lack of openness about how this operates.

All Russell Group universities use some form of "contextual admissions".

Top universities have faced accusations of being socially exclusive and recruiting too few applicants from ethnic minorities.

Read more.

Mother challenges uniform policy.

The mother of a seven-year-old girl who cried every day because she was forced to wear a skirt to school is hoping to bring a legal challenge against the government’s uniform guidance, which she says is leading to discrimination.                    

Every morning for nearly three years Roberta Borsotti wiped the tears from her daughter’s face as she railed against her school’s strict no-trousers policy for girls, asking repeatedly: “If boys and teachers can wear trousers, why can’t I?”

After threatening legal action, Borsotti finally convinced her daughter’s school, a Catholic primary in south-west London, to alter its uniform policy. Now she’s taking legal action against the Department for Education because she says she does not want other children to suffer in the way her daughter has.

Read more.


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