NEWS – Christians in Education


John Tomsett , head of a school on the outskirts of York, has more than the usual professional interest in the result on polling day. As one of the authors of a manifesto produced by the Headteachers’ Roundtable (HTRT) – a group of school leaders who came together three years ago via Twitter out of frustration about the direction of government policy – he will be watching keenly to see if any of his group’s proposals have caught politicians’ imagination. Read more You can check on the education policy manifestos of each party on this site

Children who fail exams at the end of primary school will have to resit them the following year, in an effort to ensure pupils are ‘secondary ready’, the Conservatives announced as part their general election campaign push on education. The resits would apply to about 100,000 11- or 12-year-olds in England who leave primary school with inadequate levels of literacy and maths skills, based on their performance in key stage two standardised exams. Read more The Conservative party is also planning to follow an American model in sending  parents back to school for maths lessons, if it forms the next government Read more

The National Union of Teachers has called for a ‘positive portrayal of same sex relationships’ in lessons to be made ‘compulsory’ under the next government. It said MPs had a duty to tackle ‘homophobia, biphobia and transphobia’ in schools and create a ‘positive climate of understanding about sexuality’.  But critics accused the NUT of ‘thought control’ and said the ‘intolerant’ proposals risked ‘oversexualising’ children at a young age. It will also mean that some teachers will be required to act against their beliefs. Read more

Pupils from about 300 schools a year will be asked to sit extra tests in maths or English in the final run-up to their GCSEs, Ofqual revealed today. The exams watchdog gave the figure for its new national reference test (NRT) as it announced that it had awarded the contract to develop and deliver it to the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). The first reference tests will be introduced in March 2017. The results will be used nationally to help decide where GCSE grade boundaries should lie in future years, but will not be published for individual pupils or schools. Read more

Primary and secondary schools are advancing Chinese propaganda without proper scrutiny, campaign groups have claimed after it emerged that a government-funded education group is providing hundreds of thousands of pounds and around 100 teachers to British institutions.  So-called Confucius Classrooms, a language teaching project financially supported by ruling Communist Party, now has up to 90 institutes in schools across the UK, leading to accusations that the Chinese are ‘buying their way into our education system’. Read more

A conference at the University of Southampton discussing the right of Israel to exist has been cancelled, say the organisers, who have accused the institution of bowing to pressure at the expense of free speech. The conference, due to take place next month, described itself as ‘unique because it concerns the legitimacy in international law of the Jewish state of Israel’, but critics denounced it as one-sided. Read more

For the past 14 years Alison Peacock has run an unconventional school. Grades are not the focus; children aren’t told attainment levels and the information is only disclosed if parents ask. She sees the demise of levels as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change how children are assessed nationally. But instead of simply replacing the old structure with a new one, she’d like to focus on enabling children to learn in a meaningful way so that assessment becomes a tool for improvement rather than judgment. Read more

Educational bandwagons come and go, and normally it doesn’t matter a jot. But as politicians and pundits embrace the latest fad – teaching ‘character’ to children – pioneer Hilary Wilce applauds the principle but wonders how schools can best foster happy, confident pupils with strategies that will last beyond the next big initiative. Read more