NEWS – Christians in Education


Every pupil in England will be tested on their times tables under government plans. Pupils aged 11 will be expected to know their tables up to 12×12, and will be tested using an on-screen check. The checks will be piloted to about 3,000 pupils in 80 primary schools this summer, before being rolled out across the country in 2017. Read more

However, writing in the TES, Russell Hobby suggests that this is no way to improve primary performance.The decision to create yet more tests, including the government’s new times table check at KS2, risks importing turmoil into primaries and undermining the work of teachers, he says.  Read more

Ministers are planning a crackdown on home schooling amid fears that radical Islamists could be filling their children’s minds with ‘poison’. Nicky Morgan  is preparing tougher regulation of home education after officials disclosed they had no idea how many children were being kept out of formal classes by their parents. Mrs Morgan is said to be deeply concerned by the fact that the state is effectively blind when it comes to the fate of so many children who are being educated at home. Read more

Ministers are at loggerheads with the schools inspectorate in an escalating row over teacher shortages, amid new claims that the government is massaging figures on the number of people entering the profession. Ofsted said that Sir Michael Wilshaw regarded teacher shortages as a serious problem, especially in ‘isolated, coastal and disadvantaged areas’. The DfE, however, denied any serious problem and insisted that ‘the number and quality of teachers in our classrooms is at an all-time high’. Read more

Following the high court judgment on the content of religious studies, Nicky Morgan commented, ‘I am clear that both faith and non-faith schools are completely entitled to prioritise the teaching of religion and faith over non-religious world views if they wish.’ A source close to Morgan was quoted by the Press Association as saying: ‘Nicky has had enough of campaign groups using the courts to try and force the teaching of atheism and humanism to kids against parent’s wishes. That’s why she’s taking a stand to protect the right of schools to prioritise the teaching of Christianity and other major religions.’ Read more

A new measure on teaching quality on universities risks adding extra ‘burden’ on institutions, distracting them from providing high-calibre lecturers and tutorials, according to a draft memo by Oxford University. The memo, according to a source at the university asked to comment on it, will express concerns on ‘how on earth can you possibly evaluate teaching quality without creating a huge bureaucratic burden?’ Read more

While male experts still dominate the airwaves, a growing number of female researchers are getting themselves trained to take on the media challenge. Julia Barry, former deputy director of BBC Breakfast, has founded a company, MediaWoman, to help ‘some of the cleverest women in Britain’ to develop the skills they need to engage with journalists. Read more

‘Petty rules and uniforms’ should be scrapped in schools and pupils given the opportunity to lead disciplinary decision making, an education expert has said. Sean Bellamy, teacher and co-founder of Sands School in Devon, said that pupils should be taught skills in ‘non-violent communication and mediation’ and supported to create school councils that decide on disciplinary procedures. Read more