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.

YouTube now bigger distraction to homework than TV.

YouTube is a bigger distraction to children’s homework than television, a survey has found.

Pupils at private schools less likely to complete their homework assignments on time than their peers who are educated at state schools, the poll also showed. 

The survey, commissioned by the online homework site Firefly Learning, quizzed over 2,000 students aged between 11 and 15 on their homework habits.

Asked what is most likely to put them off doing their homework, the most popular response among respondents was YouTube, with almost a quarter (24 per cent) citing this as their biggest distraction.




Meanwhile, 18 per cent said television was most to blame for diverting their attention, with a similar proportion citing the image sharing app Snapchat. 12 per cent said Facebook was their biggest distraction, and six per cent said Instagram.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, is becoming increasingly popular among children and teenagers as an alternative to watching traditional television programmes. 

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Sexting and criminalising young people.

Criminalising children and young people for life for “sexting” is an injustice. It is an overreaction to a modern day problem that legislation and the criminal justice system is yet to catch up with. Although some advances have been made when dealing with young people sexting, under the new “no formal action” response (also called Outcome 21), this discretionary guidance is still recorded on police systems and could potentially hang over that young person for the rest of their life.

There are a number of key offences that might be committed by both children involved in a sexting scenario, such as the one below.

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Disadvantaged children.

It’s like giving some people a head start in a race and it’s your job to catch up,” says 13-year-old Kian in Generation Gifted. This month’s BBC’s series tracking social mobility through the lives of six teenagerspresented an honest, at times painful insight into the barriers facing low-income pupils.

Several had disabled siblings or parents and had to get by on benefits. Some were in temporary accommodation waiting for social housing, and others in cramped bedrooms without enough room to study. In one particularly moving scene, Anne-Marie – who dreams of going to university to become a criminologist – paused as she Googled the cost of tuition fees. Her mum had thought a degree would cost around £500.

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Don't scare children off PE.

hen I was growing up I routinely bunked PE lessons. I saw PE as optional – it was on the timetable, but no one seemed to care if you didn’t attend. PE was for sporty kids anyway, and I wasn’t one of them.

Times have changed. We now know so much more about the value of physical activity – for physical and mental wellbeing, to promote positive body image in women and girls, to help people with depression, to engender a healthy lifestyle from an early age, to sharpen concentration and academic performance, and even to tackle the gender pay gap (research shows that women who play sport are more likely to enjoy high-flying careers).

So why is PE still treated as if it were optional? And that’s not just by tearaway teens, but by schools themselves. New research from the Youth Sports Trust has revealed that 38% of teachers have seen a drop in secondary school PE over the last five years as a direct result of exam pressures on 14- to 16-year-olds.

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Trial of starting school at 10am for some GCSE pupils.

SOME GCSE pupils will start school at 10am in a trial to see if they perform better in lessons.

Researchers will examine teenagers’ sleep patterns to see what impact a later start will have.

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Literacy challenges leads to shorter lives.

Children who grow up in areas that have the greatest literacy challenges are also likely to live much shorter lives than their peers, a study suggests.

It argues that there is a “staggering” gap in life expectancy between those living in communities at the highest and lowest risk of literacy problems.

For example, a boy growing up in a place that is among the most likely to have literary issues has a life expectancy around 26 years shorter than a boy living somewhere that is among the least likely, the National Literacy Trust (NLT) study calculates.

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Teenagers spending habits revealed.

Girls start spending more than boys as they enter their teens and discover more expensive shampoo and make-up.

At the ages of seven to nine, weekly spending is higher among boys (£8.50) than girls (£7.50), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Girls' spending then overtakes boys' at the age of 10 to 12 and accelerates in the 13 to 15 age group.

While boys spent less than 10p a week on soap and cosmetics, girls spent £1.70 by the age of 13 to 15.

But the figures also show that the teenagers spent less than they used to.

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North Lanarkshire may feed children 365 days a year.

A Scottish council is planning to provide school meals 365 days a year to children from low income families.

North Lanarkshire Council said its proposal would help tackle "holiday hunger".

The "Food 365" programme would cover the 175 days of the year when lunches are not served in school.

If approved, the council will run a pilot project in the spring break and could then extend the scheme over the summer holidays.

Frank McNally, convener of education, said: "These proposals to tackle weekend and holiday hunger are the most ambitious in the country.

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Should school leavers be given £10,000 to continue studies?

School leavers should be given £10,000 of taxpayers’ money to continue their education, a study suggests.

It says that every young person in England, as well as adults who did not go to university, should be given state funding to use towards university tuition fees, or the cost of other qualifications.

The move would help to boost adult and further education, and encourage take-up of a wider range of courses, the research paper argues.

Such a scheme – dubbed a “national learning entitlement”, or NLE – would cost the public purse around £8.5 billion a year, the study authors calculate.

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Children unaware of food production.

Children have a "huge lack of knowledge" when its comes to knowing how and where their food is produced, the NFU has said.


National Farmers' Union Deputy President Minette Batters said the industry "believes passionately" about educating young people, and food production should be part of the national curriculum.


The comment follows research which shows children across the UK exhibiting serious flaws in their knowledge of food and farming.


A survey of more than 27,500 children conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) found that nearly a third of children believe cheese comes from plants, tomatoes grow underground and fish fingers are made of chicken.


Read more.


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