News at a glance

Teacher honoured by the Pope

Pope Francis has awarded a teacher at a Perthshire independent school the highest accolade he can give to a layperson. Anne Marie Losty (pictured), head of science and a housemistress at Kilgraston in Bridge of Earn, has been presented with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (which translates as "for the Church and the Pontiff"). Ms Losty has spent more than 36 years of her career at the girls' school and will retire this year. Kilgraston said her legacy included a new science building, a strong house system and an extensive intellectual and cultural programme. She received the honour in a presentation from the Bishop of Dunkeld, Stephen Robson.

Merger payoffs run to millions

College mergers have cost more than pound;5 million in payoffs to senior managers, it was reported this week. The accounts of eight merged institutions reveal that about pound;4 million was spent on compensation and additional pension payments to principals, deputy principals and other senior staff who left the colleges in 2012-13. The previous year, payments of pound;1.2 million were made. Just over pound;1 million was paid to senior staff at the former James Watt College in Greenock between 2011 and 2013. A number of colleges have merged over the past few years to form larger institutions as part of the government's regionalisation agenda.

Leadership college names first chief executive

The new Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) has appointed Gillian Hamilton as its first chief executive. Ms Hamilton, a former primary headteacher, has been head of educational services at the General Teaching Council for Scotland for the past three years. The college's chair, Professor Anthony Finn, said she was "very well-placed to use her excellent skills as a creative thinker and communicator to establish a consensus around the work of SCEL". The college is also recruiting members for its board.

CPD stamp of approval popular with profession

Fourteen programmes and 1,199 individuals have achieved the Professional Recognition stamp of approval from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), it has emerged. The initiative, which launched in December 2005, is designed to support teachers' CPD. Tom Hamilton, GTCS director of education and professional learning, said: "Take-up is increasing as teachers understand the benefits it can bring not just to their practice but to the learning experience of the children and young people they teach." The latest scheme to be accredited is the Scottish Qualifications Authority's Support Assessor Programme for the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy.

Teacher reprimanded for `offensive' online image

A Glasgow PE teacher has been reprimanded after he admitted posting an image on Facebook of a woman biting another woman's breast, which could be viewed by the public. Karim Zakaria said the image, posted in or around February 2013 with the caption "Boobs - girls love them too", was a joke and that he thought it could only be viewed by his Facebook friends. The General Teaching Council for Scotland's fitness to teach panel found that the image was "inappropriate and offensive". While Mr Zakaria had "learned his lesson", a reprimand was appropriate because he had shown "insufficient insight and remorse", it added.

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