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.

Compulsory lessons could stigmatise marriage.

Parents and guardians must retain the fundamental freedom to bring up their children in accordance with their beliefs and values. The role of the state in the nurture of children is strictly ancillary to that of the parents or guardians. The Government’s decision to impose Relationships Education on every child in England from the age of five undermines that freedom.

Not only will parents be denied the right to withdraw children from Relationships Education, but the Education Secretary has already spoken in favour of introducing very young children to concepts, such as homosexuality and transgenderism, at an age where these cannot be critically assessed. We note that the Secretary of State has made no mention of ensuring that children are taught about the well-established benefits associated with being brought up by married natural parents.

Relationships education was voted through parliament on the grounds that it would help protect children from exploitative relationships and internet predators. Instead, will it be used to stigmatise traditional marriage and promote alternative lifestyles to children against the wishes of parents?

This would be a coercive and unnecessary measure damaging the position of all parents in England. We urge delegates at the Conservative Party Conference, meeting in Manchester this week, to defend parental freedom and demand that the forthcoming consultation on Relationships Education puts the rights of parents ahead of the power of the state.

Philip Davies MP

Steve Double MP

Martin Vickers MP

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

Thomas Pascoe, Campaign Director, Coalition for Marriage

Antonia Tully, Director of Campaigns, SPUC Safe at School

Ed Costelloe, Chairman, Conservative Grassroots

Colin Hart, Chairman, Christian Institute

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive, Christian Concern

Norman Wells, Director, Family Education Trust

Judith Nemeth, Director, National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools

Mr Clive Ireson, Director, Association of Christian Teachers

Dr Chris Richards, Lovewise                                                       

Revd Lynda Rose, Chief Executive Officer, Voice for Justice UK

The Trustees, Union of Catholic Mothers

Philip Booth, Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics, St. Mary’s University, Twickenham.

Professor David Paton, Chair of Industrial Economics, Nottingham University Business School

Dr Trevor G Stammers BSc, MA, FRCGP, DRCOG, FHEA, Dip Psych

E J Matyjaszek, Principal, Priory School of Our Lady of Walsingham

Revd Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream

Rod Liddle, Journalist.

Kathy Gyngell, Co-Editor, The Conservative Woman 

Sue Relf, Organiser, Challenge Team UK

Rev. Dr. Matthew PW Roberts, Minister Trinity Church York, Former Moderator, International Presbyterian Church

Dr Lisa Nolland, Convenor, Marriage, Sex and Culture, Anglican Mainstream 




Alarm clocks to replace phones.

Girls at a £20,000-a-year school have been handed alarm clocks to wake them up in the morning so that parents can ban mobile phones from their daughters’ bedrooms.

Over 700 pupils at Lady Eleanor Holles (LEH), a private girls’ school in west London, were given alarm clocks by their headmistress Heather Hanbury.

Writing in a blog on the school’s website, Ms Hanbury explained that it is vital that teenagers have around nine hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. 

But this is impossible when girls are constantly checking their social media accounts throughout the evening, she said. 

Ms Hanbury said she is aware that the most common excuse girls will use for having their mobile phone or iPad by their bedside is that they need to use its alarm function.

Read more.

Andrew Adonis suggests some ex polytechnics should be stripped of university status.

The former Labour education minister Andrew Adonis has reignited one of the oldest controversies in British education by calling for the clock to be turned back on polytechnics granted university status.

Lord Adonis told a House of Lords committee that the government’s decision 25 years ago to allow more than 30 polytechnics to take the title of university was a mistake, and argued for the removal of the status from what he termed “the lower-performing former polytechnics”.

Read more.

Call for Home School Transport to be reviewed.

Statutory requirements on council provision of home-to-school transport should be reviewed, with current spending of £1bn a year "unjustifiable" in light of ongoing cuts to early help services, the vice president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services has said.

Stuart Gallimore has said home-to-school transport is "an area ripe for review". Picture: ADCS

Stuart Gallimore, who is due to take over as president of the organisation in April 2018, said that owing to the statutory nature of home-to-school transport requirements, other than ensuring it is provided as efficiently as possible, it is an area of saving that is not open to children's services leaders.

Read more.

Fostering job or vocation.

Foster carer Sarah Anderson says there should be workers' rights for people in her role.

Ms Anderson fosters children for Hampshire County Council, but is not classed as a "worker" and therefore does not receive the same rights.

She's launching a legal claim to argue for workers' rights for people in her role.

Foster carers tell the BBC there are difficulties with applying such rights to what they do.

Read more.

Clampdown on "essay mill" cheating.

The universities watchdog has announced a clampdown on "essay mills" which help students cheat to gain their degrees.

An investigation last year by the Quality Assurance Agency found hundreds of companies were producing work for students to pass off as their own.

The companies charge from as little as £15 to almost £7,000 for a PhD dissertation, the QAA found.

Universities minister Jo Johnson says new guidelines will help prevent "unacceptable and pernicious" cheating.

Read more.

IT blunder releases names of those receiving hardship bursary.

Oxford University was forced to apologise for an IT blunder which revealed the names of all the students receiving a hardship bursary.

Administrative officials accidentally leaked a confidential list of nearly 500 students who were enrolled on the Moritz-Heyman Scholarship Programme.

One second-year scholar said they were “astounded” to find out about the leak, adding: “This was private information that had been entrusted to them".

Read more.



Teacher jailed for relationship with pupil.

A teacher who engaged in a “full blown” sexual relationship with a teenager has been jailed after a judge remarked: “What 15-year-old schoolboy would turn down such an attractive offer?”

Alice McBrearty, 23, blamed the affair on the stress of being “thrown in at the deep end” by Teach First, a prestigious fast-track scheme designed to attract the brightest graduates into the teaching profession.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how she booked a room at an IBIS hotel where she had sex with the pupil, after befriending him on social media.

Read more.



Schools allowed to carry spare pen.

The government's guidance document states: "Schools may administer their 'spare' adrenaline auto-injector (AAI), obtained, without prescription, for use in emergencies, if available, but only to a pupil at risk of anaphylaxis, where both medical authorisation and written parental consent for use of the spare AAI has been provided.

"The school’s spare AAI can be administered to a pupil whose own prescribed AAI cannot be administered correctly without delay."

Read more.

University of Manchester staff to strike.

Staff at Britain’s largest university have voted to strike over plans to axe 140 academic jobs.

On Wednesday 87% of University and College Union (UCU) members at the University of Manchester voted to strike this month, with a total of 93% backing some form of industrial action.

The union announced that strike action would take place on Monday 23 October and Tuesday 24 October, and staff would then begin working to rule from Thursday 25October. The University of Manchester branch of the UCU is the largest in the country, with just over 1,800 members.

Read more.


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