Latest News


From Westminster, the classroom and the media.

April 17, 2024

ACT CPD on exam revision techniques

January 5, 2023

The British Museum is in talks with the Greek government over a long term loan scheme under which the Parthenon marbles would be returned to the Acropolis in exchange for other ancient Greek treasures to be put on display in the UK. See Talking Points

October 2022

The Office of National Statistics registers net migration at 239,000 to the year to June 2021. In March 2022 the ONS advised that net migration would settle at 129,000 per annum. See Net Migration

March 3, 2021

War in the Ukraine. One week ago the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine. Should we talk about war in the classroom? If so what can we say. See today's Talking Point.

March 5, 2021

Three part ACT workshop on media literacy leads to creation of new module under Democracy in Action.

November 4, 2020

ACT Virtual Staff Room discussion to mark Parliament week on resources provided by Parliament's education service.

October 30, 2020

Updated EU member states economic data using as source.

September 22, 2020

ACT holds webinar on GCSE Studies to provide advice and guidance to teachers having to provide a 'recovery curriculum' to offset the loss of teaching and learning this summer term.  See details under Teacher Resources.

February 18, 2020

UK government announces proposals for a new immigration policy to come into effect at the end of the transition expected to be December 31, 2020. The points based policy effectively bars entry to the unskilled.  See details under Identity and Identity.

January 31, 2020

The UK formally leaves the European Union. There will now be a transition period of 11 months during which existing trading arrangements will remain unchanged and a new trading agreeement will be negotiated.

December 12, 2019

The results of the general election in the UK was Conservatives 365, Labour 203, Scottish National Party 48, Liberal Democrat party 11, Democratic Unionist Party 8, other parties 15, giving the Conservatives an overall majority of 80.

November 30, 2019

EU net migration lowest since 2003. Office for National Statistics reports net migration fell to 48,000 from 74,000 in previous year.  See more elsewhere on this site. 

October 29, 2019

Parliament has approved the call for a general election on December 12, 2019. Take advantage of the political activity of an election to teaching about how students can have their say

September 11, 2019

International students are to be offered a two -year work visa after graduating from a British university. It extends the provision in the Home Office white paper of six months for graduates and one year for those with doctorates. See Identity and Diversity.

June 14, 2019

Update of member state data

Update of political and economic data for each member state using as source CIA WorldFact Book

June 8, 2019

Easing visa requirements for foreign students

Financial Times reports Home Secretary seeks to lift restrictions on foreign students who want to work after graduating from UK universities. The current limit is six months. Before restrictions were imposed in 2012, students could work for two years.

December 20, 2018

UK government announces new immigration policy

The new policy will come into force after Brexit on March 29, 2019. It ends the priority given to EU nationals over people from elsewhere. See Identity and Diversity.

May 18, 2018

Update of EU member states

Using CIA World Fact Book as source, political and economic data updated for all member states.

Brussels, March 23, 2018

Transition deal on Brexit

Transition deal agreed between the UK and the EU that will extend the UK's relationship with the EU in all respects, including participation in the customs union and Single Market from March 29, 2019 to December 31, 2020, except the UK will have no say in decision making. See more under Brexit

December 15, 2017

February 22, 2017

Rights of residence of EU nationals in UK

Chairman of parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights, in letter to the Financial Times, calls on government to guarantee residence rights of 3m EU nationals lawfully resident in UK at time of referendum. These people she says are critical to the NHS, universities, agriculture, creative industries and finance. To do so would be morally right and help negotiations with the EU start on a positive note.

June 23, 2016

UK to leave the EU

In a national referendum the UK voted to leave the EU with 52% voting to leave against 48% voting to stay.  Turnout was 63%.

July 13, 2015

See new entry under Talking Points: 'The EU Referendum'

June 15, 2015

Today is the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. See Stepping Stones and more information available from the British Library.

May 8, 2015

See new entry under Talking Points,  'Charlie Hebdo and Freedom of Expression'

February 10, 2015


The European Court of Human Rights for the fourth time found the UK guilty of breaching the rights of prisoners through its blanket ban on allowing prisoners to vote.  However the court rejected the claims for compensation and legal costs of the 1015 prisoners who brought the case. 

In September 2014 the Council of Europe 'noted with profound concern and disappointment' that the UK government had not introduced a bill at the start of the 2014/2015 parliamentary session.  See background

January 1, 2015

Eurozone expands

Lithuania joins the eurozone becoming the last of the Baltic members to join and nineteenth member state of the European Union to use the euro as its currency.

September 2014

New citizenship curriculum

New curriculum comes into force this month.  Lesson plans on this site for KS3 updated to accommodate the changes.  Updates of KS4 plans in progress.

Strasbourg January 14, 2013

Ban lifted on wearing a cross

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that a British Airways employee suffered discrimination over her Christian belief when she had been banned from wearing a cross at work. The court took the view that a discreet cross would not have adversely affected BA's public image and said that British courts had failed to balance the competing interests adequately.



EU rules on border controls

Summary: Twenty five countries in Europe have signed up to the Schengen Agreement. Citizens of the Schengen area are free to travel from one country to another without passport control or custom checks.

  Fully Schengen members (EU member states which have implemented the Schengen Agreement)
  Associated Schengen members (non-EU member states which have implemented the Schengen Agreement)
  Other EU member states (EU member states which have not implemented the Schengen Agreement yet)
  EU member states
which apply only
some Schengen laws
Map Credit CrazyPhunk

The first Schengen Agreement, named after the town in Luxembourg where it was signed, was signed in 1985 by five countries, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands who decided to create a territory without internal borders.

A further eight countries signed up in 1997 after the Schengen arrangements were incorporated into EU law in the Treaty of Amsterdam. These are Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Austria.

Of the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004 nine are now members of the Schengen area: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

A number of non EU member states have also joined. Iceland and Norway, which with Sweden, Denmark and Finland, are members of the Nordic Passport Union, were accepted into Schengen arrangements in 2001. Switzerland joined in 2004.

The UK and Ireland, while not full members of Schengen, take part in some of the arrangements namely police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, the fight against drugs and SIS.

To match security with freedom, this freedom of movement was accompanied by improved cooperation and coordination between the police and judicial authorities of participating member states in order to safeguard internal security and to counter organised crime. A sophisticated database, the Schengen Information System (SIS), is used by the authorities to exchange data on certain categories of people and goods.

A more advanced version of the Schengen Information System, SIS II, is being developed that will provide new facilities for information sharing and cooperation among Schengen members.

Click for more information on:
the Schengen area and information co-operation
on what travel documents are needed