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The life
A Christian perspective on society and the education industry for the Christian professional in education.

School seeks charity funding to support disadvantaged pupils.

A cash-strapped school has turned to BBC Children in Need for funding to support disadvantaged pupils.

Downshall primary school in Ilford, east London, which has a large proportion of children from disadvantaged backgrounds – 89% of whom have English as a second language – has applied to the charity for funding to pay for pastoral care for three years.

The school has been forced to drop its team of two pastoral support workers because of budget constraints. It is also having to cut back on reading support assistants and specialist PE staff.

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New school food standards for Scotland.

  • First new school food regulations in a decade set to come in next year
  • Plans will ensure pupils get at least two portions of veg and another of fruit with lunch

Scottish schools are set to become the first in the UK to impose strict limits on the amount of red processed meat such as bacon, sausages and ham served to pupils, as part of plans to improve health and cut obesity levels.

Under the first new school food and drink regulations for more than a decade, smoothies and fruit juices will also be banned from both primaries and secondaries due to their high sugar content.

“One small carton of fruit juice or smoothie contains more than the entire recommended sugar intake for a primary pupil’s lunch”

John Swinney

Schools will also have to serve a minimum of two portions of vegetables and a portion of fruit with lunches

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Outdoor time for children.

Despite all the research that tells parents how good it is for their children to spend time playing outside, they are spending more time indoors than ever before. It seems that concerns about the dangers of climbing trees or getting lost means that many parents are nervous about allowing their children to engage in risky play.

But research suggests that this element of outdoor play has significant benefits for children and can help to develop their emotional resilience.

Over the last decade and a half, schools have started to recognise the importance of outdoor time for children – resulting in the development of programmes that take learning outside the classroom. One of these programmes which has increased in popularity over recent years, is Forest School.

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Prom gowns donated.

Three years ago Maesteg Comprehensive School held its first "prom" party for its year 11 students to celebrate finishing their GCSEs.

Head teacher Helen Jones thought the new tradition imported from America was "fantastic" - but it also created a problem when they realised a pupil was not going to attend because of the cost of the outfit.

"It becomes an overwhelming experience for a lot of our children, particularly girls, with the pressure to look their very best," she said.

"It can run into hundreds [of pounds], if not thousands, and that's something that I never wanted to encourage."

So two of the school's PE teachers, Emily Scudamore and Annemarie Scarr, put out an appeal on social media for donations of prom gowns for pupils to use for free.

    

They have now received about 200 gowns, plus shoes and accessories, from ex-pupils, local people and businesses, including 30 brand new dresses from a wedding shop in nearby Pyle.

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Students want parents told if in mental health crisis.

Two-thirds of students support universities being able to warn parents if students have a mental health crisis, an annual survey suggests.

There have been concerns about student suicides and the survey indicated worsening levels of anxiety on campus.

Only 14% reported "life satisfaction", in this study of 14,000 UK students.

And most thought even though students were independent adults, universities should in an emergency be allowed to disclose information to parents.

Published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and Advance HE, this is one of the biggest annual reports into the views of those currently studying in the UK's universities.

    

'Under pressure'

The 2019 survey showed continuing concerns about students' well-being - with just 18% saying they were happy, 17% saying their life was "worthwhile" and only 16% having low levels of anxiety, with all these student figures being considerably worse than for the rest of their age group.

 

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Chief Executive of Academy Trust takes legal action.

A leading headteacher is pursuing legal action after he claims he was “forced to resign” as chief executive of a trust amid a financial investigation.

Tom Quinn left Holy Family Catholic Multi-Academy Trust in April amid what Schools Week understands to be an internal investigation surrounding a black hole in the trust’s budget of potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds.

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Drive to boost achievements of children in north east.

Schools across the North East are being urged to come forward with ideas to help children fulfil their potential as they move from primary to secondary level.

The performance of young people in the North East means the region’s primary schools are the highest-ranked outside of London, now the government is stepping-up efforts to ensure young people continue to reach their potential at secondary school.

To do that, the Department for Education (DfE) has today (4 June 2019) published a call for proposals to draw on the expertise of teachers, school leaders and local authorities in the region by asking them to pitch ideas to help children fulfil their untapped potential, supported by funding from the DfE’s £24 million Opportunity North East programme.

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Should only MMR vaccinated children be allowed in schools?

A measles outbreak at three London schools has prompted Public Health England to issue an urgent warning to headteachers, asking them to encourage staff, parents and children to get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Measles cases worldwide rose by 300% during the first three months of 2019 and annual vaccination rates in the UK have fallen below the target of 95% of the population for several years.

Italian researchers from the Bruno Kessler Foundation and Bocconi University have predicted that the number of cases of measles in the UK could double in the coming decade, and say the MMR vaccine should be a requirement for a primary school place, as it is in Italy.

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£14.5m programme to reduce suicides at Unis.

A £14.5m programme to help reduce the number of student suicides at universities and colleges in England has been unveiled by the higher education regulator.

Nicola Dandridge, the head of the Office for Students (OfS), has said too many students are having their experience “blighted by mental ill-health” and more should be done to tackle the issue.

One of the projects awarded funding includes an Early Alert Tool, led by Northumbria University, which will identify students at risk of mental health crisis by mining data sources, like social media.

The scheme, which focuses on early warning signs, has been launched in response to figures showing that only one in three people who die by suicide are known to mental health services.

The OfS the sector’s watchdog, has awarded £6m in funding to universities and colleges, with co-funding of £8.5m, to combat a rise in student mental health concerns.

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Children search online for transgender advice.

Thousands of children are searching online for advice about being transgender, a new survey has revealed.

Researchers found that views on the transgender page of the Childline website have almost doubled in a year.

Views on the web page jumped from 6,867 between April 17-March 18 to 12,343 times between April 2018-March 2019. The transgender page on Childline website went live in December 2015.

Childline, which is run by the NSPCC, offers a 24-hour confidential helpline service for children.

Children as young as 11 now use the service to speak about their gender or sexual identity as well as their experiences of bullying and issues with their mental or emotional health.

One boy told counsellors: “I have been feeling depressed and suicidal for about three years. My parents don't understand me at all. I came out as Trans and they think it’s just a phase and refuse to accept me. I am in pain.”

The data also revealed that Childline carried out 6,014 counselling sessions with children and young people about issues relating to gender and sexuality last year - which equated to 16-a-day on average.

Among these counselling sessions, the service saw a 40 per cent increase in concerns about coming out. The figure rose from 1,508 counselling sessions in 2017/18 to 2,110 in 2018/19.

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