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Lib Dems want extra hours for new staff

NEW teachers could be placed on contracts similar to those in the independent sector and asked to give an extra commitment to after-school work, Jim Wallace, the Liberal Democrat leader, hinted this week on the campaign trail.

Mr Wallace wants to recruit 3,000 more teachers above existing plans to lower class sizes and ensure schools offer more specialist teaching and an out-of-hours entitlement for every child.

He said many teachers already voluntarily work with children and suggested new recruits could be contractually obliged to do out-of-hours duties. "You can't change the contracts unilaterally but you can start to change with those coming into the profession."

* Tory plans would see the demise of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. The party wants to introduce a free market in student finance and end "any notion of Soviet-style, top-down job planning".

"We will introduce our Saltire scholarship, whereby students will be given a voucher set at the full value of the university tuition for their preferred course after they have met the entrance requirements. This will give real power to students and institutions to interact and determine course numbers without government meddling," Brian Monteith and Murdo Fraser, the party's education spokesmen, pledged.

* With one in three children living in poverty, the SNP has issued a five-point plan to tackle deprivation. John Swinney, party leader, promised free child care in the most deprived communities and healthy eating vouchers for families with young children.

Leader, page 20

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