ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

for Christians working in education

The week
News items from the week’s daily and education press, covering the major education news stories of the week.

Most teenagers happy with life.

Most 15-year-olds report being happy with their lives, an international study of students' well-being suggests.

The report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found an average satisfaction score of 7.3 on a scale from nought to 10.

UK teenagers had a below average satisfaction score of seven.

But anxiety about exams and bullying remains a problem for many young people. And heavy internet use leaves many feeling lonely and less satisfied.

The findings are based on a survey of 540,000 students internationally who also completed the OECD Pisa tests in science, mathematics and reading in 2015.

Read more.

School meal report in Scotland.

School meals should include fewer puddings and more fresh vegetables, according to a report.

Obesity Action Scotland (OAS) said improvements to school meals could play an important part in reducing childhood obesity.

It wants to highlight the issue ahead of the council elections in two weeks' time.

The Scottish government said a review of school food and drink nutritional standards was under way.

OAS is calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals in Scotland "from a feeding culture to an eating culture".

Read more.

EU students to remain eligible for grants and loans.

Europeans studying in the UK will continue to remain eligible for grants and loans in 2018-19, the government has announced.

This will remain the case even if their course finishes after the UK's exit from the European Union, it added.

European students on undergraduate and master's courses are presently charged the same for tuition as UK students.

Ministers said attracting talent from across the globe was key to success and vice-chancellors welcomed the news.

Read more.

Labour and class sizes.

Labour says children are being crammed "like sardines" into "super-sized" school classes, as it focuses its general election campaign on education.

The party said 40,000 primary age children were taught in classes of 36 or more in England in 2016, blaming "broken promises" by the government.

But the Tories said Labour's attacks were "a massive own goal".

They said the Labour-led Welsh government had overseen increases in class sizes in Wales.

Read more.

Legal action over grammars by back door?

Legal action to prevent grammar streams from being set up within non-selective schools in England is being threatened by a teachers' union.

The National Union of Teachers says some academy trusts are advertising for pupils to join "grammar streams" within comprehensives using an ability test.

The NUT has written to Education Secretary Justine Greening threatening a judicial review.

The Department for Education says streaming by ability is allowed.

Multi-academy trusts are already able to stream by ability across their groups of schools and teach pupils at a separate site, says an education department spokeswoman.

Read more.

Will SATS be boycotted?

Teachers have backed plans for a possible boycott of primary school tests in England next year.

The National Union of Teachers says the tests for seven and 11-year-olds are damaging to children and education.

One delegate likened Sats to the "monster stalking our schools". Another said they needed to be "decapitated".

The government is consulting on the future of primary assessment, and may scrap the tests for seven-year-olds and introduce a baseline test in reception.

But, if agreed, this would not be put in place before 2020.


Read more.

Fake news used by students.

More than a third of teachers say that students have cited false information they have found online, according to a poll by the NASUWT teaching union. 

Union general secretary Chris Keates said the finding was "worrying" and shows the power that internet firms have in shaping public opinion, especially among young people. 

The finding, part of an NASUWT poll on social media and technology, comes just weeks after a leading international education expert said that children should be taught in schools how to recognise fake news. 

Read more.

Richer children go to outstanding schools..

Children from poorer homes in England are nearly half as likely to attend an outstanding primary school as richer children, research finds.

Only 15% of children from the poorest 30% of families currently go to outstanding primary schools, a study by education charity Teach First suggests.

This compares to 27% of children from the richest 30% of families who attend a school rated highly by inspectors.

The government says it is making more good school places available.

The research is published as parents in England prepare to hear on Tuesday which primary school their child has been allocated.

Read more.

Thousands of new childcare places.

Thousands of new childcare places for working parents around the country are being created thanks to a multi-million grant scheme, the Early Years Minister Caroline Dinenage has announced today.

The £50 million capital grants double the government’s investment to help nurseries, pre-schools and playgroups invest in new buildings and upgrade facilities. This will deliver more than 9,000 additional childcare places – helping to deliver the government’s commitment to give working families 30 hours free childcare from September.

The money builds on the £50 million funding announced in January, doubling the total spend to £100 million and altogether providing nearly 18,000 extra childcare places.

Read more.

Parents asked to fund school budgets.

Almost one in five parents in the UK is being asked to set up payments to their children's schools, as head teachers warn of budget shortages, says a survey from a teachers' union.

The NASUWT survey claims some parents are asked for £400 or more per year.

Schools in England have been warning of cash shortages and the union says schools are now depending on parents.

But the Department for Education says "no parent is required to make a contribution".

Teachers' unions are holding their conferences over the Easter bank holiday weekend, with funding one of the biggest issues.

Read more.


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