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.

Driver training for young people in Scotland.

Clelands Volvo is at the heart of a new initiative which sees young people between the ages of 14 and 17 receive driver training as part of the national curriculum in the Scottish Borders.

More than 700 local 14 to 17-year-old secondary school pupils take part over the course of the year. Its introduction comes after it was found that under-17s with controlled driving experience are five times safer than their peers.

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Should more of the overseas aid budget be targeted to education projects?

The UK's overseas aid budget should target more of its funding towards education projects, says a cross-party committee of MPs.

The international development committee says the proportion spent on education should be lifted from 8% to 10%.

There are 250 million children around the world without access to school - and efforts to tackle this have been "shamefully underfunded", say MPs.

Committee chair Stephen Twigg warned of a "global learning crisis".

The select committee says that the Department for International Development's spending on education is £526m per year - less than on supporting health, civil society and intervention in disasters.

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Parents use of mobile phones disrupts family life.

An overuse of mobile phones by parents disrupts family life, according to a survey of secondary pupils.

More than a third of 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds who responded to a poll said they had asked their parents to stop checking their devices.

And 14% said their parents were online at meal times, although 95% of 3,000 parents, polled separately, denied it.

The research was carried out by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

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Russia encourages women into tech.

Irina Khoroshko, from Zelenograd near Moscow, had learned her times tables by the age of five.

Her precocious talent, encouraged by a maths-mad family and a favourite female teacher who transformed every lesson into one giant problem-solving game, led to a degree in mathematical economics at Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.

"My lecturer instilled in me the power of numbers and calculation, how it gives you the ability to predict things; in that sense the subject always felt magical," she says.

Now Irina, 26, is a data scientist at Russian online lender, ID Finance, enjoying a lucrative career devising analytical models to determine loan eligibility.

And this isn't an unusual story in Russia. But it is in many other countries around the world.

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Work experience student invents heart code.

Work experience often involves little more than tea-making or watching office workers glued to their screens. 

But one schoolboy put his placement at Barts Heart Centre to much better use — by helping devise an award-winning system to save heart attack victims. 

Ben Wald, 16, came up with the idea of surgeons “writing” a patient’s medical history in code inside their chest after observing open-heart surgery at the hospital, where his father Professor David Wald is a cardiologist.

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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".

Read more.


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