VIEWS – Christians in Education


Christians in Education is taking a summer break, so this is the last update of the school year. Have a restful and refreshing summer. See you again on Friday 9 September.

It’s good to see a product of the comprehensive-school system gain access to the levers of power. Justine Greening has a first-rate opportunity to do something radical as education secretary, says Geoff Barton. It looks like a case of finding NiMo wanting. Remember the time when we watched House of Cards for political intrigue and Spitting Image for political entertainment? Now, just as reality television promised, the actual world of Westminster provides more blood-spattered thrills than most TV dramas. Read more

SRE must be made mandatory in schools to help tackle the culture behind online abuse. Maria Miller, who chairs the House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee, said the growing scale of online hate crime, cyber bullying and revenge porn cases has changed her view on the need for the school curriculum to be updated. There is no mention of how to build loving, stable relationships. Read more

Since July last year, schools have been given a legal duty to prevent students from being drawn into terrorism. This includes not just violent extremism, but also nonviolent, radical behaviour that can ‘create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism’. Teachers made one-third of referrals to Prevent strategy in 2015, so the Guardian asked teachers what their views were on the legal duty through an online callout and follow-up interviews. Read more

There have been campaigns against academies since the policy of freeing schools from local authority control was launched by New Labour and the Anti-Academies Alliance has been around for 10 years. But the government’s latest push, signalled by its schools white paper in March, combined with evidence of poor performance at some MATs and publicity surrounding high salaries and financial irregularities, has led to a renewed surge of parent activism. Read more

All self-employed tutors should be legally required to have a criminal records check before they can offer private lessons to children in the UK, children’s charity the NSPCC says. A current loophole means self-employed tutors do not have to undergo Disclosure and Barring Service checks. The NSPCC says this loophole creates an ‘ideal scenario’ for ‘any predatory adult seeking to harm children’. Read more

The government’s Prevent strategy aimed at combating homegrown terrorism is stifling freedom of expression within the classroom and risks being counterproductive, a human rights report warns. Its release coincided with the publication of a report by Ofsted, which warns that many further education colleges and private training providers are failing to comply with the government’s anti-radicalisation programme, leaving students vulnerable to exposure to extremism. Read more

Public Accounts Committee member and Labour MP Karin Smyth has tabled a Westminster debate in a bid to force ministers to address concerns over the plans for free childcare. The Committee’s inquiry found the DfE doesn’t have robust plans to ensure there are enough qualified early years staff to deliver the additional hours pledge. The department doesn’t even have a workforce plan for the early years sector. Read more