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.

Almost half recent graduates believe they will never pay back student loan.

Almost half of recent graduates believe they will never be able to pay back their student loan, as experts warn that they would be better off without university. 

A major report, commissioned by the new universities regulator, The Office for Students, analysed the views of 6,000 young people about value for money in higher education.

Just ten per cent of school leavers thought they would be unable to pay back their loan within 30 years, which rose to 28 per cent of university students. Among recent graduates, 42 per cent said they do not expect to repay their loans in full.

Read more.

16-18 year olds results for 2016/2017


Following the introduction of a new 16-18 school and college accountability system in 2016, which introduced new headline measures and changes to the methodology for calculating 16-18 results, there are further additions in 2017. This publication provides an update on the provisional statistics published in October 2017, and also includes 16-18 performance measures broken down by students’ disadvantaged status at the end of key stage 4 for the first time. More detail can be found in section 2.

See the detail.

Graduate outcomes.


Graduate outcomes (LEO): Employment and earnings outcomes of higher education graduates by subject studied and graduate characteristics

See the detail.

Call for Evidence - School Exclusions.

Edward Timpson CBE is seeking views and evidence on school exclusion practice in England as part of a review of school exclusions.

School exclusion is when headteachers exclude pupils for a fixed period or permanently for disciplinary reasons. Information and guidance on school exclusions is also available.

Read more.

Call for Evidence - Children in Need.

This call for evidence asks what professionals across education, children’s social care, health and other specialist services are doing to improve the educational outcomes of children in need. We want to hear about the support being offered in and out of school so that these children can achieve their potential.

Read more.

DfE to test approaches to support teachers returning to work.

The DfE is plans to test approaches to support teachers returning to work in schools in the West Midlands and South East of England

Schools from across the West Midlands and the South East are being asked to take part in a government programme designed to help teachers return to the classroom after a career break, the School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has announced March 14.

Together with schools in these areas, the Department for Education will test the best approach to supporting teachers who have taken time out of their careers, providing funding to help them after they return to the classroom. It’s part of the drive to help schools attract and keep the best and brightest people working in their classrooms, and follows the Education Secretary’s recent announcement of a strategy to drive recruitment and boost retention of teachers.

The pilots, which will start in May, will build on existing evidence and help teachers re-acclimatise to the classroom and support continuous professional development through a range of measures, including funding for National Professional Qualifications.

Read more.

Sir Lenny Henry on drama cuts in schools.

 Sir Lenny Henry has criticised cuts in school drama teaching as a scandal as it means children are not being properly prepared for the outside world.

The comedian and actor has launched a new National Theatre initiative to encourage better drama and theatre-making in primary schools.

Henry, who recalled on Thursday his secondary school drama lessons as “basically, running round the school hall pretending to be the Avengers”, said good arts and drama education was crucial.

“I’m learning there have been massive cuts in teaching the arts in schools and it is cutting off your nose to spite your face. If you are not teaching children how to be creative and curious, what are you preparing them for? You are not preparing them for the outside world,” said Henry.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has condemned as a “national scandal” cuts to music lessons in UK schools. “It is the same thing for drama,” said Henry.

“We have an issue in this country in terms of working class people having access to activities like writing and plays and music. Working class people are under-resourced when it comes to the arts and we need to rebalance that.”

Read more.

Crackdown to come on illegal schools.

Ministers are promising new measures to crack down on illegal schools, including new powers for Ofsted to seize evidence and question witnesses.

A new legal obligation for schools to register will be created "as soon as possible" under the proposals.

The move follows concerns some ultra orthodox Jewish and Muslim children are being denied a basic education.

Ofsted currently struggles to gather evidence to prosecute people running illegal schools.

Both the current Chief Inspector of Schools, Amanda Spielman, and her predecessor Michael Wilshaw, have told the BBC they needed stronger powers.

A recent BBC investigation highlighted frustration about the lack of legal powers and loopholes in the law.

Read more.

Video game banned in the UK.

PlayStation game Omega Labyrinth Z has been banned from sale in the UK because it "promotes the sexualisation of children".

The Video Standards Council said the "likely harm" it would do to the young people it was aimed at meant it would not get an age rating.

Without a rating it is illegal to sell the game in the UK.

In a tweet, distributor PQube said its appeal against the decision had been rejected.

Moral development

The game has also been refused a rating in Australia and Germany. PQube said it would also not be available in New Zealand and Ireland.

In the US it is expected to get a "mature" rating, which means it can only be sold to those aged 17 and older.

The ban is likely to mean that the title will not be listed on Sony's online store for the PS4 and Vita. UK sellers of the physical game are listing it as unavailable.

Read more.

State secondary schools in deficit rises.

The number of state secondary schools falling into deficit in England has almost trebled in the last four years to more than a quarter, research says.

Analysis by independent think tank the Educational Policy Institute (EPI) found the proportion of local authority secondaries in deficit rose from 8.8% in 2013-14 to 26.1% in 2016-2017.

Its study of official figures also found a significant increase in the number primary schools in deficit.

The government disputed the findings.

The EPI report focuses on local authority schools because the data is publicly available. It excludes academies, which account for about 60% of secondaries and 20% of primaries in England.

The research adds to growing evidence of the financial struggles faced by a significant minority of schools.

Read more.


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