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.

Does English as Additional Language need to be a barrier?

When columnist Andrew Pierce tweeted earlier this year that 1.3 million children “do not speak English as a first language, underlining strain immigration puts on schools”  he understandably caused something of a social media stir.

Alongside some tweets of support, others were quick to point out that not having English as a mother tongue need not correlate to a student’s ability to learn in their second, or third language. Even the author JK Rowling, a former teacher herself, joined the argument to point out that “second and third languages can be fluent”.   

With over 300 languages spoken in classrooms across the UK, and many schools in big towns and cities such as London and Birmingham, it is understandable that many will wonder how schools will be able to cater to all pupils and students equally.   

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Childrens mental health as important as academic success.

‘My brain won’t let me sleep,’ wept my six-year-old daughter as she cried inconsolably in my arms last night. Since starting Year Two in September, my normally happy little girl has become tired, emotional, tearful and despite being exhausted, struggling to get to sleep. While she enjoys school – the sheer amount of academic work being thrown at her and her peers on a daily basis appears to be taking it’s toll. The problem is that teachers are under so much pressure from the government to get children to achieve a certain level at a certain time, that no sooner have pupils learnt one thing, they are on to the next giving them no time to take it all in and develop confidence in that area. With this alongside weekly home work, is it any wonder my daughter is unable to switch her brain off at bedtime?


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Record number of children at risk of abuse.

A record number of children are at risk of abuse or neglect in England, according to a Sky News study of new Government data.


We have found that serious child protection cases known as "Section 47s" have doubled in the last seven years to record highs.

On average there are now 500 new cases launched in England every single day.

The Department for Education figurs also show the number of children supported through child protection plans has almost doubled over the past 10 years, and this year saw the biggest annual increase in children in care since 2010.

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EU Academics to leave after Brexit.

The potential risk to UK universities from post-Brexit academic flight has been laid bare in a report that reveals there are regions where up to half of academic staff in some departments are EU nationals.

The British Academy report [pdf] warns that economics and modern language departments will be particularly badly hit if European academics leave the UK, with more than a third of staff in each discipline currently from EU member states.

The risk is particularly acute in Northern Ireland where a quarter of all academic staff – across all subjects – are from EU countries, while in the West Midlands almost half of modern languages staff are from the EU.

British universities have warned the government they risk losing talented EU staff who need greater clarity on their post-Brexit rights if they are to commit to remain in the UK.

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Teachers in Northern Ireland will no longer be able to drive minibuses on a car driving licence.

Teachers in Northern Ireland will no longer be able to drive school minibuses on a car driving licence, according to new guidance.

Teachers must now have a full D1 minibus driving licence and driver certificate of professional competence.

The guidance is contained in a letter from the Department for Infrastructure to the Education Authority (EA).

The body representing controlled schools said that the change is "devastating for schools".

The clarification from the department follows a meeting between it and representatives from education bodies on 9 November.

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Mansfield College has 90% state school intake.

Oxbridge has long faced criticism for accepting too many students from privileged backgrounds. But one Oxford college, Mansfield, stands apart from the rest, with nine in 10 of the students it admitted this year coming from state schools. How has it achieved this?

In a recent report, David Lammy launched a scathing attack after data he obtained showed the number of students accepted at Oxford and Cambridge universities heavily skewed towards those from the Home Counties and from well-off families - with the numbers edging upwards.

The MP criticised the universities' colleges for being "fiefdoms of entrenched privilege".

Across Oxford the number of state school-educated students is about 60% - the independent sector accounts for 6.5% of all pupils nationally - but at Mansfield College that figure has jumped to above 90%.

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Exclusion ultimate rejection for adopted children.

"Being permanently excluded was the ultimate rejection for him," says Faye, mother of 15-year-old Joe.

Faye says since he was excluded from secondary school, Joe's behaviour has deteriorated, with a devastating knock-on effect for the rest of the family.

But this family's experience is not unusual, according to a report by the charity Adoption UK.

Its research estimates adopted children can be up to 20 times more likely to be permanently excluded than their peers.

The charity surveyed 2,084 of its members and found that of those with adopted children at school  in 2015-16, 12% had had a fixed-term and 1.63% a permanent exclusion.

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Children want teachers to discuss bullying more.

And yet almost two-thirds have come across bullying, new survey finds 


More than a third of children feel their teachers do not talk enough about what to do if they are bullied at school, a new poll suggests.

And yet almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of children have come across someone being bullied because they were different, according to the survey.

The poll, of more than 1,500 children in England, found that over half worry about being seen as "different" from others and two-fifths would hide aspects of themselves for fear of being bullied.

The survey, from the Anti-Bullying Alliance at the National Children’s Bureau, reveals that 36 per cent of children think their teachers do not do enough to educate them about bullying.

In light of these findings, campaigners are urging schools to celebrate what makes pupils unique during Anti-Bullying Week – which starts on Monday.

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Crack down on home schooling?

Ministers must crack down on home schooling because extremist groups are encouraging parents to pull children out of mainstream education, an Ofsted chief has warned.

Matthew Coffey, the chief operating officer at the schools watchdog, said that a loophole in the law could “feed” illegal schools.

Parents are under no obligation to inform local authorities that they intend to home-school their children, or to give a reason why.

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Some Islamic schools still segregating children.

At least 10 Islamic schools in England are still segregating boys and girls in co-educational schools, while others are likely to be separating the genders for certain activities, despite a recent court ruling outlawing the practice.

Details emerged in an appeal court judgment on Tuesday, which turned down an attempt by the Association of Muslim Schools (AMS) to join a legal action to seek leave to appeal to the supreme court for a review of the segregation ruling.

The request followed a judgment last month when three court of appeal judges found that Al-Hijrah Islamic school in Birmingham had caused unlawful discrimination by formally segregating girls and boys from the age of nine.

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