News at a glance

French Higher's fall from favour causes concern

The number of Scots sitting Higher French plummeted this year, with entries for the exam hitting the lowest point in more than a decade. The Scottish Qualifications Authority figures have prompted Sarah Breslin, director of Scotland's National Centre for Languages, to call for a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of French as a global language. Business leaders, meanwhile, have backed Ms Breslin's call, stressing the importance of the French language to the Scottish economy. This year, the number of candidates sitting Higher French dropped almost 10 per cent, from 4,688 candidates in 2012 to 4,236 in 2013, the lowest uptake of the subject since 2001 when 4,272 candidates were entered for the exam.

Funding boost to get graduates into jobs

The Scottish government has announced almost #163;4.6 million in funding for youth employment schemes to help up to 1,020 graduates find the right job. Over the next year, #163;1.2 million will go to the Graduate Recruitment Incentive and Adopt an Intern schemes, to place unemployed or underemployed graduates in permanent posts or internships. The ScotGrad scheme will receive #163;3.4 million over three years, to help businesses grow and create jobs.

Medical care in schools 'must improve'

Fresh guidance is needed on administration of medicine in schools, children's commissioner Tam Baillie has said. According to a new report, his team have uncovered poor practice and confusion over policy in some local authorities. Although the experience of most families is positive, the report says, there is considerable regional variation and a lack of knowledge about some children's needs. This information supports findings obtained by Mr Baillie's office under the Freedom of Information Act and reported by TESS in January.

YouthLink gets official vote of confidence

Scotland's national youth work agency is making a difference to children's lives, an inspection report has found. YouthLink was praised by Education Scotland for its "flexible and responsive" approach to a variety of youth programmes, including the anti-knife crime initiative No Knives, Better Lives. But improvements were recommended, including doing more to reflect "Scotland's cultural and religious diversity", more effective work around Curriculum for Excellence and improving the use of ICT in its work.

Local hero rides to success

An inspirational teacher has been shortlisted for a cycling award. John McCracken, who retired recently as a technical and guidance teacher at Loudoun Academy in Galston, East Ayrshire, has trained students and staff in bike-riding skills and led numerous cycle challenges, including one from Land's End to John O'Groats. The teacher, who has been shortlisted for the Skyride Local Cycling Hero awards, still maintains his old school's fleet of 30 bicycles. Headteacher Linda McAulay-Griffiths said that he continued to serve the school "in the most outstanding way".

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