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.

Shine in Schools.

Shine in Schools is a 3 week video resource that is designed for use in groups in secondary schools. This year’s videos have just been released and as a team we are excited about the impact they could have, but we do need help in letting people know about Shine. Is this something that you could help us with please through your channels and networks? Actuality seems like an obvious place, but I am not sure under which heading it would sit. Christian teachers are key practitioners or gate-keepers for Christian groups in schools so being able to let them know about Shine would be amazing.


The theme this year is ‘Fearless’ and for groups that are made up of mainly non-Christian young people, the videos explore the difference that Jesus can make to the everyday fears they face – fears of failure, rejection, the unknown etc. Left unchecked these fears can have an impact on young people’s well being and mental health.


And for groups that consist of mainly Christian young people, a separate set of videos address the fears that they may have about sharing their faith with their friends.


To give you a bit more information, I have attached an information sheet.


Here is a link to the Scripture Union website that has more information and links to the Shine website itself:

Exclusion play.

In a Victorian Gothic church behind Harrods in west London, a group of young people from troubled backgrounds have gathered to rehearse a play about school.

Excluded is a new production, set in a turbulent GCSE class in a London secondary school in 2019, that attempts to shine a light on the problems faced by vulnerable young people within the education system.

The content of the play is close to home. At an early workshop exploring the issues, it emerged that all but two of the young performers had been excluded from school. Some are care leavers, some have mental health problems, others have been young offenders. Many have been affected by the consequences of knife crime, which they link to the increasing number of exclusions.

Read more.

Lakes Academies Trust in controversy.

Tony Draper, a former president of the NAHT heads' union, is chief executive of the Lakes Academies Trust, in Milton Keynes, where one of the primary schools has this year been downgraded by Ofsted from "outstanding" to "inadequate".

According to today’s Times newspaper,  a picture of a yacht was also posted on his Instagram account with the caption: “Sod all you bl**dy peasants. I’m having one of these and cruising the Adriatic — because I’m worth it.”

Read more.

AQA fined over re-marks.

AQA has been fined £350,000 – the largest ever handed out by Ofqual – and will compensate schools and colleges by £740,000 after “serious breaches” of rules over re-marks.

The exam board failed to ensure re-marks and moderation were not carried out by the original marker, or by someone with no personal interest in the outcome.

Ofqual said around 50,000 re-marks or moderations were affected, equating to around 7 per cent of all re-marks carried out by the exam board each year.

Read more.

"Failure" of Free School programme.

The Government's flagship free schools programme has failed to help white working class communities where education outcomes are the lowest, according to new research.

The analysis also found that the performance of free schools is “mixed”, with the strong results of some schools partly driven by the fact they take pupils from neighbourhoods which generally achieve good results anyway.

Read more.

Why St John’s, Oxford, is the best Oxbridge college, according to our league table.

St John’s tops our exclusive Oxbridge college league table, a first-of-its-kind ranking of Oxford and Cambridge colleges that combines an abundance of explorable data with the opinions of our panel of recent graduates. 

But how do you rank the best of the best in Britain?

We designed our league table to help school leavers compare the more than 50 colleges on everything from academic performance to availability of accommodation to location and gender and state/private school balance. Panels of recent alumni offer the more colourful low-down on what life at each college is actually like. 

So why does St John's College (Oxford) come top? It doesn't have the best score in any of our four categories (financial assets, academic performance, accommodation and lifestyle), but its consistently solid scores across each of them means that it comes top overall. 

St John’s, whose alumni include Tony Blair and Philip Larkin, scores 9.9/10 in financial assets, 9.7/10 in academic performance, 8.9/10 in accommodation and 8.2/10 in lifestyle, giving the college an overall score of 36.7/40. 

Read more.

Ofqual threatens naming and shaming.

Ofqual has announced plans that could see more naming and shaming of exam boards for breaking the rules, with the introduction of new "public rebukes".

The change is revealed in a consultation launched today by the exams regulator that also proposes issuing errant boards with financial fixed penalties for lesser penalties for the first time.

Heads have welcomed the package, saying this will improve public confidence in the exams system.

Read more.

Special needs system in crisis.

Breaches of children's legal right to have special educational needs support have reached unprecedented levels, says an official complaints body.

England's local government ombudsman said not only had there been a spike in complaints, but nine out of 10 of them were upheld in 2018-19.

Michael King warned that parents were having to fight the system that was established to support them.

Councils say they do not have enough resources to keep up with demand.

The Local Government Association points to an 11% increase in education, health and care (EHC) plans - detailed documents that set out the support children are legally entitled to - last year alone.

Read more.

Parents lose Special Needs challenge.

Three families who challenged the government over its approach to special needs and disability (Send) funding have lost their case at the High Court.

They said there was a crisis in funding that would "blight" children's lives.

Mr Justice Lewis dismissed their claim for a judicial review, ruling there had been no unlawful discrimination.

The education department had not acted irrationally and there had been "no breach of the general duty to promote the wellbeing of children in England".

The legal action had been brought by three children with Send on behalf of others who also rely on the funding.


Nico Heugh Simone, 15, from Robertsbridge, East Sussex, Dakota Riddell, nine, from Birmingham, and Benedict McFinnigan, 14, from Scarborough, acted through their mothers.

Read more.

Universities must do more to tackle harrassment.

Universities must do more to tackle harassment and hate crimes on campus, a report says.

Universities UK found good progress had been made in combating sexual misconduct and gender-based violence, since a taskforce was set up in 2016.

But less attention was given to other forms of harassment and hate crimes, such as those related to race or faith.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said there must be a "zero-tolerance culture" to all types of harassment.

Read more.


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