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Free travel for non-Catholics under threat

Falkirk Council is set to consult over plans to make non-Catholic students attending its Catholic schools pay for transport. The authority hopes to save more than #163;300,000 by asking non-Catholics, who are currently entitled to council-funded buses or taxis, to pay their own way. The move could also reduce pressure on Catholic school places, which are increasingly in demand from migrants from traditionally Catholic countries such as Poland.

Big Music Project strikes ambitious note

An initiative that aims to use the power of music to build young people's confidence and create career opportunities was launched earlier this week. The Big Music Project has been set up with #163;4 million of Big Lottery Fund money, and hopes to reach more than 4.5 million young people aged 14-24 across the UK. The year-long scheme encompasses nationwide careers fairs, community projects and hundreds of work experience and internship opportunities, as well as the Big Music Project Competition. For more information, see the website at

Science festival programme unveiled

The programme for the 2014 Edinburgh International Science Festival has been launched. The goal of this year's event, which will take place in April, is to explore how science lies at the heart of everything. Highlights will include the chance to hear Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Higgs discuss his life's work. The festival's schools programme, Generation Science, will be touring until May. Amanda Tyndall, deputy director of the event, said: "This year will see hundreds of the best and brightest minds in science and technology gather in Edinburgh to debate and celebrate some of the biggest and sometimes most controversial ideas in science." For more information, see the website at

Parliament set for children's bill vote

The final vote on the children and young people bill was due to take place this week. Under the bill, which Parliament voted on this Wednesday, three- and four-year-olds, and some two-year-olds, will receive 600 hours' annual care, 125 hours more than at present. However, a proposal to ensure that a "named person" is appointed to monitor every young person's well-being from birth to 18 has been widely criticised. Church groups have complained that the plan to introduce a state-appointed guardian for each child diminishes the role of the parent.

Kelvin College applauded for participation scheme

Glasgow Kelvin College has won an award for widening participation. It picked up the Association of Colleges Beacon Award in the 14-19 years category for its youth access programme. The scheme, led by college youth workers in youth clubs, helps young people between 12 and 17 develop a relationship with lifelong learning and provides them with the opportunity to learn essential skills and work towards youth work awards, college certificates and Scottish Qualifications Authority units. Almost 30 per cent of participants move into full-time college courses.

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