ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

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

Assessments for dyslexic students claiming disability allowances should be reviewed, peers have said.

Assessments for dyslexic students claiming disability allowances should be reviewed, peers have said.

The issue was raised by Lord Addington, who is president of the British Dyslexia Association.

He said it was unfair dyslexic students had to pay up to £600 to have their condition reassessed to claim the disabled students' allowance at university.

Education Minister Lord Agnew agreed the system should be reviewed.

Disabled university students can claim an allowance to cover extra costs because of their illness such as specialist equipment or a non-medical helper.

Read more.

Have the wheels fallen off the Academy bandwagon?

With a falling roll, weak standards and chronic financial issues, it was placed in special measures earlier this year amid calls for its sponsor, the Academies Enterprise Trust, to be driven off the island.

None of this is exceptional but what happened next, in its small way, certainly is. The Sandown Bay academy, with the support of a Tory-led council, a Conservative MP and the Department for Education, is being closed, then merged with a local primary into an all-through council-run school. The Isle of Wight children’s services are now run by the high-performing Hampshire county council. In this solitary outpost, the academy movement finally ran out of road.

It is almost 20 years since the Labour government set out to create a new generation of independent state schools free of local authority control and funded directly by central government.

Read more.

Unaffordability of lifting pay gap?

IPPR makes pre-budget call for government to restore pay to 2010-11 levels

Lifting the cap on the pay of teachers and other public sector workers would cost the government less than previously thought, a thinktank has said.

The IPPR said a significant amount of any money used to lift the pay cap would be returned to the Treasury almost immediately in the form of higher tax receipts and lower welfare payments.

The finding comes ahead of next week’s Budget and amid pressure on chancellor Philip Hammond to increase funding for schools and increase public pay above the current 1 per cent cap.

In September, education secretary Justine Greening told Tes that “competitive pay” was needed to attract and retain good teachers.

Today’s report cites NASUWT findings from last year that a school teacher outside London who was on £36,624 in 2010-11 would have suffered a £2,800 real-terms pay cut by 2017-18.

This would rise to £3,794 if the public sector pay cap was retained until 2019-20.

Read more.

6 Universities now told to change adverts.

The advertising watchdog has told six UK universities to take down marketing claims that could be misleading.

Leicester, East Anglia, Strathclyde, Falmouth, Teesside and the University of West London have all had complaints upheld against them.

The Advertising Standards Authority is warning against exaggerated claims made to attract students.

Chief executive Guy Parker says students need "good evidence" when making such a big financial commitment.

"Misleading would-be students is not only unfair, it can also lead them to make choices that aren't right for them," said Mr Parker.



Read more.

Prince William introduces 'Green Cross Code' for the internet.

Facebook and Snapchat are trialling a new, more direct way to help young people bullied online, following an intervention by Prince William.

The social media platforms will help those in need of emotional support to access counsellors.

The prince, together with tech firms, children's charities and parents, is also introducing the equivalent of a Green Cross Code for the internet.

It tells young people to "stop, speak, support" when online.

The aim is to encourage them to stop negative behaviour, tell a responsible adult and support victims of bullying.


Other firms, including Google and EE, have also taken part in the project. 

Read more.

Tax free childcare delayed.

Plans for the full rollout of tax-free childcare in the UK have been delayed until March 2018 - five years after it was first announced.

It comes after parents grappled with technical difficulties on the official website, launched in April, they need to use to access the scheme.

In a written statement, ministers said they would be staggering applications by age of child between now and March.

All parents were supposed to be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.

Under the scheme, the government will put in 20p for every 80p parents pay in childcare, up to the value of £2,000 a year. 

Read more.

School asks for £1 a day donation.

A primary school in Prime Minister Theresa May's constituency has asked parents for a £1 daily donation to help pay for stationery and books.

Robert Piggott CofE School in Wargrave, Berkshire, said the plea comes after "national changes to school funding".

Labour said this showed "Tory cuts" were "hitting schools badly".

Education minister Nick Gibb said the school is set to gain around £10K a year in extra cash from 2018 under the new National Funding Formula.

The school, which according to the most recent figures has 311 pupils, is in the Maidenhead constituency represented by Mrs May since 1997.

Read more.

Fraud with student loans?

The chair of Parliament's spending watchdog wants a police investigation after BBC Panorama uncovered evidence of fraud in the student loan system.

One education agent was secretly filmed offering to get bogus students admitted into a government-approved private college for a £200 fee.

This was to allow the bogus students to fraudulently claim student loans.

Then for £1,500 a year, the agent offered to fake attendance records and to provide all their coursework.

Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Hillier MP said: "There is criminal fraud going on from what you've shown me. It needs to be referred to the police."

Read more.

Teacher faces disciplinary action because he 'misgendered'.

A teacher is facing disciplinary action at his school after he referred to a transgender pupil as a girl, although the student identifies as a boy.

Joshua Sutcliffe, a Christian pastor from Oxford, admitted he said "Well done girls" when addressing a group including the student.

He described it as a "slip of the tongue", but said he believed biological sex was defined at birth

The school said it would be "inappropriate" to comment.

Mr Sutcliffe, who teaches children aged between 11 and 18, said the incident took place on 2 November.


He said a week-long investigation found he had "misgendered" the pupil.

Read more.

What happened to the Scottish school that banned homework.

If one Scottish school which voted to ditch homework is being used a guinea pig, then the days of kids being given sums to do at home could be numbered.

Last November, The Sunday Post revealed Inverlochy Primary in Fort William had taken the unusual step of banning homework following a vote from pupils, parents and teachers.

The school’s 10 teachers were split 5-5, while 62% of parents and 79% of pupils were in favour of a ban.

According to the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), it was the first time parents had actively voted to abolish homework.

Read more.


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