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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.

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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Kinship Carers.

Thousands of children are being diverted from the care system by kinship carers, with a charity warning family guardians are at "breaking point" as a result.

Kinship carers are family members or friends who step in to look after children, in the event their own parents are unable to care for them.


Substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health issues are all among the most common reasons that a guardian would step in.

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"Disappeared" school heads.

A headteacher whose former school failed an Ofsted inspection on primetime TV wants to start a movement of “disappeared” school leaders who have been driven from the profession.

James Pope said he was launching Heads Up to both support school leaders who have been “kicked out for one perceived failure” and to ensure their experience is not lost to the education system.

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DfE music curriculum delayed.

The DfE new Music curriculum module, due to be published this summer, has been delayed

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) who bid £4,500 for the contract, was selected to draft the module in February. However, the department of Education has confirmed that the module will only become available when it ‘meets the high standards of teachers, pupils and parents expect.’

The Music module, aimed at ages 5 to 14, was proposed in order to work with the existing National Curriculum. In turn, ensuring more pupils benefited from a creative education, as well as ‘[making] it for easier for teachers to plan lessons and help to reduce workload.’ Since ABRSM is known for its graded exams, concerns have been raised as to whether the organisation understands the demands of teachers in a day to day school environment, and if they can successfully deliver the curriculum.

A spokesperson for the department of Education, says: ‘Music is a vital part of a broad and balanced education and our new model music curriculum will ensure all pupils are able to benefit from high quality music lessons…We are working with a range of experts to devise a knowledge rich and rigorous model curriculum, which will be available to schools as soon as we are assured it meets the high standards teachers, pupils and parents expect.’

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Students seek independent counselling out of fear.

More students are seeking independent counselling away from university over fears their academic record will be affected, a support charity has said.

Off The Record (OTR) in Bath said it saw "hundreds of students, year on year" from the city's two universities.

Director Phil Waters said some people were worried about a stigma if they sought help from their university.

Bath University said that would never be the case and added any students with urgent needs would be seen immediately.

Student Jayme Sims said some of her peers felt the university's services may have "some other kind of objective" for wanting students to get better.


The 20-year-old sociology student has a youth worker placement at OTR, which supports 18 to 24-year-olds, as part of her degree, after previously using the university's wellbeing services.

She said: "The university wants you to stay and finish your degree.

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"Deeply concerning" many student blocks remain unfinished.

The universities minister says it is "deeply concerning" so many student housing blocks remain unfinished, leaving students in temporary accommodation.

Chris Skidmore is calling together providers of student accommodation, many of them private developers, to "ensure these failures don't happen again".

He was responding to a BBC News report into how 22 private student housing projects under construction have not been completed for the new term.

This represents almost a third of the current private student-housing developments, according to the Unipol student housing charity.

Mr Skidmore tweeted: "We cannot allow this inadequacy to continue."


Student housing has been seen as a lucrative option for investors - but this autumn has seen a rash of accommodation projects not delivered on time.

Read more.


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