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Four-fifths of teachers lack confidence in Nationals

A poll by the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association has revealed the extent of teachers' concerns about the new National qualifications. About 80 per cent of respondents were not confident in their ability to assess students in National 4 and 5, and 93 per cent said they were unhappy with the support from both the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Education Scotland. Alan McKenzie, acting general secretary of the association, said: "We continue to be alarmed by the clear lack of confidence being expressed by our members, particularly in terms of the assessment materials for National 4 and 5."

Motherwell teacher struck off for embezzlement

A principal teacher at a North Lanarkshire primary has been struck off for stealing more than #163;5,000 from her school's fund for trips. Marion Anderson, 53, of Muir Street Primary, Motherwell, Lanarkshire, embezzled the money over the course of more than two years. In January last year she was given 180 hours' community service and a 12-month probation order after admitting to taking #163;5,180.66. She was struck off the teaching register by the General Teaching Council for Scotland last week.

Call to ring-fence children's services

A group of children's organisations has lodged a petition calling on the Scottish government to ensure that councils protect children's services in their future budgets. The Scottish Children's Services Coalition wants the government to insist that local authorities fulfil their statutory duties regarding the delivery of additional support for learning and to remind them of their duties. A spokesperson for the coalition said that a number of councils were already proposing cuts to services for those with additional support needs.

Parliament to debate fate of religious observance

The issue of whether religious observance in school should become an activity students have to opt into, as opposed to opt out of, is to be investigated by the Scottish Parliament's Education Committee. The petition from the Scottish Secular Society calling for the change was passed to the committee this week. The move follows a call from the Church of Scotland and the Humanist Society Scotland for religious observance to be renamed "time for reflection".

Catering accolade for Argyll and Bute dinners

The council that had the quality of its school meals scrutinised by the world when a student began posting pictures of her lunches online has won an award for the standard of its dinners. Martha Payne started rating the school lunches provided by Argyll and Bute in 2012. Now, the council has been awarded a bronze Food for Life catering mark from the Soil Association Scotland. Laura Stewart, the association's director, said: "This means that primary school children are being served fresh, healthy, seasonal meals that are better for animal welfare, using produce that is traceable and trustworthy."

Leaders can log on at last

The Scottish College for Educational Leadership launched its website this week, two years after Graham Donaldson's review of teacher education called for a virtual college of school leadership to improve management at all levels. Government funding was announced for the project last year and Anthony Finn, former chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, was appointed interim chair. See www.scelscotland.org.uk.

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