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.

Local area SEND inspection outcome letters.

Local area SEND inspection outcome letters  

    Outcome letters from inspections of local area services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.


Read the letters.

Free School Data up to December 2017.

Free schools: open schools and successful applications  

    Details of open free schools and successful applications in the pre-opening stage.

Read all the data.

U-turn on two year degrees?

The government may be forced into a humiliating U-turn on its flagship plans for fast-track university degrees that were designed to soften the blow of paying high fees, experts are warning.

Ministers proposed that universities should be able to charge the same overall for intensive two-year degrees as three-year courses, meaning annual fees could be up to £13,500 a year. The appeal of this is meant to be that students would only have two years of maintenance to fund and they would be able to enter the workforce and start earning sooner.

Read more.

Online anti-radicalisation programme to be rolled out.

An online programme aimed at preventing young people being radicalised is to be rolled out across the country.

The Home Office is backing the development of the programme, designed by the University of Kent, which will be used in schools from 2018.

Behind Closed Doors uses real news footage and simulated social media-style clips to highlight the dangers of grooming for radicalisation.

It explores subjects including far right extremism and terrorism.

The programme follows the online social media life of 15-year-old Maryam and her sisters, and the online and personal relationships of Joe, 20, and his family.


Both stories focus on grooming processes and what to do to help safeguard the young people.

Participants will be asked how the characters are being groomed.

Read more.

Local Authority bail out Academy.

Sawtry Village Academy fell into disrepair after years of neglect by its former principal James Stewart, who is now in jail for fraud and misconduct in a public office 


A local authority is spending £2 million on bailing out an academy school that fell into disrepair after its former principal squandered funds on turning his office into a sex den.

Cambridge County Council has decided to step in to help the Sawtry Village Academy. It has asked the Education and Skills Funding Agency for another £1.5 million, but the funds "aren't forthcoming", according to the Cambridge News.

The school has been struggling with the legacy left by its disgraced former principal, James Stewart, who defrauded the school out of more than £100,000.

In October this year, Stewart was sentenced to four years in prison, after pleading guilty to four counts of fraud, two counts of aiding and abetting fraud and one count of misconduct in public office. The offences took place between 2011 and 2014.

Read more.

Boy missing out on suitable education awarded payout.

Delays in providing suitable home education and in assessing for EHC plan meant boy missed out on months of schooling 


A boy with special educational needs has been awarded more than £3,000 after the local government watchdog found he had missed out on a suitable education for seven months.

Essex County Council was criticised by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for failing to provide a suitable education for the boy – and for delays in assessing his needs.

The boy, who has severe learning difficulties, had stopped attending his special school in late November 2014 – not returning after a temporary exclusion.

The council had arranged for a care worker to educate the boy at home from January 2015, but his mother complained that the education was not good enough.

An independent review agreed with her – and added that the boy also needed a thorough assessment of his special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Read more.

University vice-chancellor was handed more than £800,000.

A university vice-chancellor was handed more than £800,000 in her final year, including a hefty departure payment, it has been revealed.

Accounts for Bath Spa University show Prof Christina Slade was paid £429,000 "for loss of office" on top of her £250,000 salary and other benefits.

The University and College Union (UCU) has called for an "urgent overhaul" of senior pay at British universities.

A spokeswoman for Bath Spa said the sum represented "value for money".

Read more.

Universities Minister says excessive pay will be dealt with.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson says that excessive pay for university bosses will be brought "under control" by new regulations, which he told the BBC would appear in the new year.

Mr Johnson said he was "absolutely convinced" a new regulator, the Office for Students, will tackle pay concerns.

The minister promised "greater restraint... in setting top salaries".

It comes after protests over the former head of Bath Spa University receiving more than £800,000 in her final year.

Read more.

University vice-chancellor given payout.

A university vice-chancellor was given a £230,000 departure payment in his final month in the job, figures show.

The amount paid to former University of Sussex vice-chancellor Prof Michael Farthing is shown in the institution's latest annual accounts.

The university said it was "open and transparent" about senior staff pay.

It comes a day after it was disclosed another university boss was handed more than £800,000 for her final year as vice-chancellor.

The financial statements were first reported by the Times Higher Education magazine.

Read more.

Universities at risk of "mis-selling" courses.

Universities could be accused of "mis-selling" courses to teenagers who have little understanding of money matters, the public spending watchdog says.

National Audit Office head Amyas Morse said young people were taking out large loans to pay for tuition fees without much effective help or advice.

It compared the higher education market to financial products, highlighting how little regulation universities faced.

The government said its reforms were helping students make informed choices.

But the NAO report highlights that tighter rules apply to the sale of complex financial products than to universities offering courses that may well be more expensive.


Mr Morse said: "If this was a regulated financial market, we would be raising the question of mis-selling."

Read more.


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