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Guidelines aim to quell exchange safety fear

Fifth and sixth-year students in North Lanarkshire secondaries are once again to be encouraged to join home-to-home foreign exchanges - but only under strict conditions.

After fears about safety, the authority has revised its guidance to parents and schools. Families who take in students will now have to ensure privacy where a room is shared.

The authority also stipulates that rooms are only shared with those of the same gender and similar age.

Charles Gray, education convener, who is a strong European advocate, said exchanges increased appreciation of cultural diversity.

"The protection of our young people is paramount. To this end, these clear guidelines have been produced which take into account the need for safe and appropriate accommodation," he said. The guidelines cover the responsibilities of leaders, staff and pupils, and how to deal with accidents.

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