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.

Jewish school refuses to let Ofsted to talk to children.

Ofsted has raised concerns about an independent Jewish girls school that refused to let inspectors speak to their pupils during a monitoring visit.

The inspectorate said it was denied the chance to speak to pupils at Beis Ruchel D’Satmar School in London about their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Read more.

Teachers threaten strike over pay.

Teachers have threatened national strike action if the government fails to award them a pay rise of 5 per cent this year.

A motion passed at the NEU teaching union’s annual conference this morning, includes a call to prepare for a national strike to take place next year, before Easter. 

Read the detail.

UK Universities "gagging orders".

UK universities are being accused of using "gagging orders" to stop bullying, discrimination and sexual misconduct allegations becoming public.

Dozens of academics have told BBC News they were "harassed" out of their jobs and made to sign non-disclosure agreements after making complaints.

Figures obtained by the BBC show UK universities spent about £87m on pay-offs with NDAs since 2017.

Universities UK says using NDAs to keep victims quiet should not be tolerated. 

Non-disclosure agreements were designed to stop staff sharing trade secrets if they changed jobs, but now lawyers say they are being misused to protect serial perpetrators of misconduct, and ministers say they want to tighten the rules

Read more.

Celebrities speak out against new faith schools.

Celebrities, politicians and some of the UK’s leading thinkers have united to fight a plan for a new wave of single-faith schools, which they say “fundamentally threatens social cohesion”.

Writer Ian McEwan, film director Ken Loach, broadcaster Baroness (Joan) Bakewell and philosopher AC Grayling are among the signatories to a letter in The Sunday Times today. Other big names to sign the letter include Sandi Toksvig, David Baddiel and Stephen Fry.

They call on the government to scrap its decision to approve and pay for new schools that will be able to select 100 per cent of their pupils on religious grounds.

Read more.

Primary school places allocated.

Thousands of parents in England are expected to miss out on their first choice of primary school on Tuesday when local authorities notify families where their child will start their education in September.

About half a million families will be contacted on national offer day, mainly by email. Although pressure on places in primary schools has eased slightly in some areas of the country, headteachers have warned an increasingly fragmented school system has led to a lack of coordinated planning for places.

Read more.

Could Brexit delay exams?

Pupils might have to sit their GCSEs and A-levels on later dates or at alternative sites in the “nightmare” scenario of a no-deal Brexit causing significant traffic disruption, Tes can reveal.

Exam board sources have told Tes that in the most extreme scenario of a large number of candidates not being able to sit a paper, “drastic” action could be taken to postpone the sitting across the entire country.

The UK is currently set to legally leave the EU on Friday with a deal yet to be approved, although prime minister Theresa May has asked EU leaders to reschedule this to the end of June. 

Read the full story.

UK schools are turning to foreign governments to fund languages

In Holly class, Matilda, aged six, calls the register. “Ciao, Tyler,” she says. “Presente,” he replies. “Ciao, Arthur,” she says next. “Ciao, Maestra Matilda,” he says. The class collapses into giggles: Matilda is taking the register as part of today’s Italian lesson. Her teacher, Stefania Cellini, helps the children count aloud to check everyone is there. Even though these year 1 pupils are only five or six, they easily count to 28 in Italian. “You are all bravissimi,” Cellini says.


If there’s sports day, Sats or a school trip, languages are the first thing to go

This language lesson is not a one‑off. Here at John Rankin infant and junior schools, in Newbury, Berkshire, all pupils receive one hour’s Italian teaching a week, starting in year 1, funded not by the UK, but by the Italian government.

Read more.

Hundreds of children to be withdrawn from Birmingham School.

Hundreds of children could be withdrawn from a Birmingham primary school that is facing daily protests from families who oppose LGBT+ lessons.

Anderton Park Primary is the second school in the city to face demonstrationsfrom parents who argue that their children are too young to learn about families with same-sex parents.


Now the protest organisers are threatening to take 400 children out of class amid an escalating row over equality lessons. The protesting parents want the headteacher to resign.

Read more.

Grammar school parents in revolt.

Grammar school parents are in open revolt over plans to drop entry marks for disadvantaged pupils.

Over 3,000 people have signed an online petition warning that reducing the pass mark for the Eleven Plus will lead to standards dropping “dramatically”.

The King Edward VI Academy Trust, which runs six grammar schools in Birmingham, plans to introduce new catchment areas from next September that will give priority to disadvantaged pupils who live in those areas, even if they achieve slightly lower entry scores.

Read more.

NEU Pre Conference Church Service

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is the venue for the very first NEU Pre-Conference Church Service, on Palm Sunday 14th April. The service will start at 6pm in the Cathedral Lady Chapel, and will last about one hour.

Click below to see the details:

NEU1079 Conference church service flyer v2 (002) (3).pdf


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