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Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, has guaranteed two to three years' grant support for the Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre, which covers science, technology and safety in schools.

Scottish Government officials are meeting SSERC this month to discuss funding plans to allow the centre to continue running its conference for technical support staff, leadership courses for faculty heads, and residential events for PGDE science students.

Ms Hyslop told delegates at last week's conference of the Association for Science Education Scotland in Crieff: "SSERC and its partners have undertaken invaluable work in recent years, ensuring quality teacher continuing professional development opportunities.

"They have fully integrated their training courses with university science departments, initial teacher education institutions, professional bodies involved in science and commercial sector partners."

SSERC officials were involved in identifying the materials, and establishing there was no contamination, during the recent scare surrounding the discovery of packages containing radioactive material at a language school in Edinburgh.

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