News at a glance

Getting the message out to teenage voters

From this week, teenagers who will be 16 or over when next year's independence referendum is held can register to take part. It is the first time in a UK political vote that people under the age of 18 have been allowed to participate and the Electoral Commission has been working with school leaders and education directors to get the message out to 15- to 17-year-olds. Andy O'Neill, head of the commission's Scotland office, said: "Teachers can play an important part in helping to raise awareness." For more information, visit

There's good news for Gaelic

The Scottish government has welcomed a 0.1 per cent increase in the number of Gaelic speakers under 20, saying its investment in Gaelic-medium education is "clearly paying off". The 2011 census figures also show that the overall drop in Gaelic speakers has slowed, falling by just 625 speakers in the decade from 2001 to 2011, compared with a drop of 16,662 speakers between 1991 and 1981. Bord na Gaidhlig chair Iain Campbell said: "This is clear evidence that the policy aims of the National Gaelic Language Plan are taking effect."

More than a million more for a master's

A further #163;1.7 million is to be invested in turning teaching into a master's-level profession, the Scottish government has announced. Local authorities, universities and other organisations will shortly bid for a share of the cash to develop learning opportunities for teachers at master's level. The move comes after last year's announcement of #163;1.3 million to enable teachers who had embarked on the scrapped chartered teacher programme to complete their studies.

Nine-figure salaries

Almost nine out of 10 university graduates in Scotland had a job or were in further training within six months of completing their course in 2011-12, according to official statistics. In all, about 70 per cent of leavers from higher education had a job in the UK or abroad, while just over 6 per cent were believed to be unemployed. About 75 per cent of those who had jobs were working in managerial and professional occupations.

Peer equality between rich and poor

Helping poorer children get as much out of school as their better-off peers has been identified as a key priority in Education Scotland's first corporate plan. The document, which was launched last week and covers 2013-16, states that in closing the gap there will be particular emphasis on literacy, numeracy and health and well-being. Education secretary Michael Russell said that Education Scotland had made "strong progress" since it was formed in 2011. Chief executive Bill Maxwell (pictured, left) said he wanted the organisation to influence not just education, but the broader public sector.

Secular Society calls for ban on creationist talk

The Scottish Secular Society is calling on the government to issue guidance for schools prohibiting the discussion of creationism as a viable alternative to scientific theories on the origins of the universe. Such a ban would bring Scotland into line with England and Wales, says the society in an open letter to education secretary Michael Russell. The society's demand that creationism be banned from discussion apart from in religious and moral education classes, comes after a number of recent cases of it being taught in Scottish schools.

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