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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.

More needs to be done to prevent drop out rate at Unis.

More must be done to tackle a steady rise in the number of students dropping out of universities in England, the Social Market Foundation (SMF) says.

The national drop-out rate rose from 6.6% in 2011-12 to 7.4% in 2014-15, an SMF report finds, with each dropout representing "a loss of potential".

Out of all the regions in England, London performs the worst, with a drop-out rate of 9.3% in 2014-15.

The government said new laws would make universities publish drop-out rates.

The SMF study notes that many of the disadvantaged groups targeted through widening access programmes are also the groups most likely to drop out.


It says institutions with a higher in-take of black students, students whose parents work in lower level occupations or students who come from low university participation areas are more likely to have higher drop-out rates.

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Special needs children unhappy with secondary schools.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) more than twice as likely to be unhappy with school than those without SEND

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are significantly more likely to be unhappy at secondary school than other children, new DfE-funded research has found.

Almost one in five (19 per cent) children with SEND are unhappy with their school compared to just 7 per cent of children without SEND, say researchers at City, University of London.

The research also found a link between having SEND and psychological difficulties – such as conduct problems or hyperactivity.

A quarter – 25 per cent – of children have a high level of difficulties compared to 11 per cent of other children, according to the findings, although the researchers pointed out that there was an overlap with some children who had a SEND diagnosis due to psychological problems.

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Social media making young people more anxious.

Research from anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label suggests social media is making youngsters more anxious.

Forty per cent said they felt bad if nobody liked their selfies and 35% said their confidence was directly linked to the number of followers they had.

Instagram was highlighted as having become the vehicle most used for mean comments.

Seven per cent of young social network users said they had been bullied on the Facebook-owned photo app.

That compared to a figure of 6% for Facebook itself, 5% for Snapchat and 2% for Twitter and YouTube.


One expert said children were growing up in "a culture of antagonism".

Instagram said it encouraged users to report bullying content.

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School cuts teaching by an hour a week.

A secondary school will cut an hour of teaching a week from the autumn in a bid to save £100,000.

Joe Wincott of The Sandon School in Chelmsford, Essex said an extra £1.3bn promised by the government was too late to help it in the next academic year.

The head teacher said cutting lessons from 26 to 25 hours a week would allow him to balance the school budget.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said per pupil funding was set to go up from £4,100 to £4,800 in 2018.

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Homeless children up a third.

The number of homeless children being housed in temporary accommodation rose by more than a third in the last three years, according to official figures.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils in England were now providing temporary housing for 120,540 children with their families.

It said the growth rate - equivalent to an extra secondary school's worth of children per month - was unsustainable.

The government said the figures were a worry but still below the peak of 2006.

Based on the latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), covering January to March 2017, there was a net increase of 32,650 (37%) since the second quarter of 2014 - an average of 906 extra children every month.

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Subsidised housing for teachers?

Teachers should be offered subsidised housing as a reward for working in deprived areas in order to tackle geographical disparities between England’s schools, a cross-party commission has recommended. The Social Market Foundation’s commission on inequality in education, headed by former deputy prime minister and MP Nick Clegg, said the government should experiment with subsidised housing to raise the quality of teaching in worse-off areas.

The group, which also includes the Conservative MP Suella Fernandes and Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, also recommended that aspiring headteachers be required to spend time in senior positions in struggling schools before they qualify for promotion.

The commission’s analysis found that schools in deprived areas were much less likely to have specialist teachers and were more likely to employ less experienced staff.

“Despite all the changes in education policy over the years – under governments of all persuasions – inequality in our school system has sadly remained a constant,” Clegg said before the report’s launch. “It is simply unacceptable that poorer children are generally taught by less experienced teachers and that their life chances are shaped by the postcode in which they live.

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Poverty effect on the brain.

With its bright colours, anthropomorphic animal motif and nautical-themed puzzle play mat, Dr Kimberly Noble’s laboratory at Columbia University in New York looks like your typical day-care centre – save for the team of cognitive neuroscientists observing kids from behind a large two-way mirror.

The Neurocognition, Early Experience and Development Lab is home to cutting-edge research on how poverty affects young brains, and I’ve come here to learn how Noble and her colleagues could soon definitively prove that growing up poor can keep a child’s brain from developing.

Noble, a 40-year-old from outside of Philadelphia who discusses her work with a mix of enthusiasm and clinical restraint, is among the handful of neuroscientists and pediatricians who’ve seen increasing evidence that poverty itself – and not factors like nutrition, language exposure, family stability, or prenatal issues, as previously thought – may diminish the growth of a child’s brain. Now she’s in the middle of planning a five-year, nationwide study that could establish a causal link between poverty and brain development – and, in the process, suggest a path forward for helping our poorest children.

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Middle class children groomed to sell drugs.

Middle class children are being groomed to sell drugs by criminal gangs branching out from cities into rural towns, a report has warned.

Children as young as eight from "stable and economically better-off" backgrounds are at risk of being exploited by gangs using “county lines” tactics, which facilitate the supply of class A drugs from urban areas to county or coastal towns, it found.

The report, by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults said the drug distribution model had spread from London to the rest of the country, including Manchester and Liverpool.

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Suicides in young people peak in exam season.

Suicides among children and young adults peak at the beginning of exam season, it has emerged, adding to fears that pressure to get good results is harming their mental health.

Exams are sometimes the final straw that lead to someone under 25 taking their own life, according to a major inquiry. While experts pointed out that the causes of suicide are always complex, they said academic problems could play a significant role.

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Secondary pupil numbers due to rise by a fifth in a decade.

The number of pupils in England's secondary schools is set to rise by almost a fifth within the next decade.

Government figures show there are expected to be around half a million more secondary age children by 2026.

The increase is being fuelled by the baby boom of the early 2000s, which means growing numbers of pupils moving through the school system

Overall pupil numbers are expected to increase by 654,000 (or 8.7%) to around 8.1m by 2026.

In secondary schools alone, the overall population is projected to reach around 3.3m in 2026, a 19.1% increase or around 534,000 more pupils.

Read more.


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