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.

University College of London and immigration controls.

A row has broken out over University College London’s enforcement of immigration controls for international students, with staff and students accusing the senior management of pursuing draconian and discriminatory policies.

The dispute comes after UCL advised lecturers to carry out random spot checks on students’ identity documents, and one of the university’s leading faculties warned that staff who fail to report those in breach of the terms of their visa and immigration requirements “may be liable to a £20,000 personal fine per case”.

Read more.

Research misconduct in Universities.

A national watchdog that has the power to punish British universities for failing to tackle research misconduct is needed to ensure that sloppy practices and outright fraud are caught and dealt with fast, MPs say.

The new body would rule on whether universities have properly investigated allegations of malpractice and have the authority to recommend research funds be withdrawn or even reclaimed when it finds that inquiries into alleged wrongdoing have fallen short.

While serious research fraud is thought to be rare in British universities, a quarter of institutions fail to report cases of potential malpractice, according a survey by the Commons science and technology committee which urged ministers to set up the new watchdog in a report on research integrity published Wednesday.

Read more.

Capita wins major contract.

Won't somebody think of the children? Capita – perhaps the UK's least favourite outsourcing badass – is to oversee the admin, processing and support for all primary school national curriculum assessment (NCA) tests in England.

The six-year contract worth £109m was awarded by the Department for Education's Standards and Testing Agency, covering the 2020 to 2024 test cycles, starting September 2019.

This means Capita will manage the NCA tests end-to end, including printing, distribution and collation of 9 million papers a year for Key Stage 1 and 2 tests and the phonics screening check.

Read more.

Bitter row in major unions.

It was meant to bring together the two of the largest teachers’ organisations to form a “super-union” that “politicians will have to listen to”.

But the merger of the “radical” National Union of Teacher (NUT) with the more moderate Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has led to a bitter row, culminating in employees going on strike against their own union.

The strike has been described as “highly embarrassing” for the newly formed National Education Union (NEU).

Read more.

Fine for sharing data.

A company that offers pregnant women and new parents health advice and gifts, faces a fine for illegally sharing more than a million people's personal data with the Labour Party.

The UK's data watchdog intends to issue the owner of the Emma's Diary service a £140,000 penalty.

It said Lifecycle Marketing had sold the data for use in the 2017 general election campaign without disclosing it might do so.

The firm disputes the findings.

It said it had not been given an opportunity to respond to the Information Commissioner's Office's complaints before the report was published


"As a result, details of the ICO's findings, including those being reported by the press, contain significant factual inaccuracies which we trust will be corrected," said a spokeswoman for Lifecycle Marketing.

Read more.

Doors kept open to EU students after Brexit.

The door has been left open for EU students to come to UK universities after Brexit, according to the government's plans for the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Or you might choose another metaphor, because the language of the Brexit White Paper leaves much vagueness for interpretation.

For a report about the movement of people, it is much more about a direction of travel than a destination.

It makes clear that "free movement" will end, but the future arrangements will "facilitate mobility for students" so they can "benefit from world leading universities".

This would allow "streamlined" movement back and forth between the EU and UK - and not just for university but also for "cultural experiences".

Read more.

Teachers urge clarity on next terms pay.

Six teaching unions are urging the government to make its mind up on whether it will back a call for a real pay rise for teachers in England.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds was told schools faced unnecessary uncertainty over what to pay staff next September due to his delayed response.

In May, the official teacher pay review body reported to Mr Hinds but he is yet to publish that report or his response.

But the pay cap of 1% has been lifted for other public sector workers.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, the six unions, including the National Education Union, National Association of Head Teachers and the Association of School and College Leaders, said head teachers and staff were left wondering what is happening.

Read the detail.

Prince Charles meets Welsh school children.

Prince Charles was given an education in Welsh produce when he met a group of school children in Llandudno this morning.

Charles, 69, kicked off the final day of his tour of Wales at Ysgol San Siôr Primary School where he chatted to pupils and learned about the school's proactive environmental programme. 

The school runs a scheme in which the 245 pupils help to look after a range of animals and insects including chickens, pheasants and bees.

Read more.

July Prayer Diary.

Prayer Diary July 2018


Please pray for:



1st July

Christians who are senior managers in   schools


2nd July

Teachers to recognise the needs of   the pupils in their care


3rd July

Continued openness to hold Christian   Unions in schools


4th July

Those advising on government   education policy


5th July

Those seeking to protect vulnerable   young people


6th July

Staff supporting pupils through   bereavement


7th July

The faithful witness of Christian   Schools


8th July

ACT’s support of members through   Twitter and Text Prayer


9th July

Christian pupils and their parents   regarding wise use of technology and social media


10th July

Anyone whose school is closing down   at the end of term


11th July

Children meeting their new teachers


12th July

Those marking exam papers


13th July

Christians serving as school   governors


14th July

ACT Chair Barbara Bell


15th July

Everyone in your local secondary   school


16th July

Staff facing re-organisation or job   uncertainty


17th July

Christian RE teachers


18th July

Those leaving primary school


19th July

How you may encourage others in   education


20th July

Pupils with Special educational Needs


21st July

ACT Director Clive Ireson, and   opportunity for refreshment this summer


22nd July

Your local nursery setting


23rd July

The safety of all young people this   summer


24th July

Christians taking school assemblies


25th July

Please pray for the Pray for Schools   initiative (


26th July

Refreshment for all those who work in   schools


27th July

High quality Christian resources to   support the Sex and Relationships curriculum


28th July

Dawn Williams in her administrative   role for ACT


29th July

Christians working in education   within your Local Authority


30th July

Those helping pupils develop positive   social values and self image


31st July

ACT’s Board of Trustees


Update to inspectors.


Message to inspectors from the National Director, Education

Welcome to the 14th edition of ‘School inspection update’ (SIU).

In April, we held our spring conferences for around 1,600 school inspectors. Along with our autumn conferences, these events form part of our ongoing training to ensure the consistency, quality and reliability of our inspection practice. I shall share some of the topics covered this time in this edition.

Inspection is above all about human judgement. Therefore, the quality of Ofsted’s work and our value as a force for improvement depend absolutely on the knowledge and expertise of our inspectors.

Sometimes, the public debate gets stuck at the level of inspection grades, especially the overall effectiveness judgement. But the professional conversations between inspectors and school leaders are where the greatest value in our work lies. When we get this right - and we usually do - our work is acknowledged as constructive, helpful and, occasionally, even enjoyable by those on the other side of the process.

Read more.


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