News at a glance

Report backs teachers over heavy workloads

An investigation commissioned by the Scottish government has found "clear evidence of unrealistic and unsustainable over-assessment" in the new Nationals. The report, published this week, was commissioned by education secretary Michael Russell in the wake of widespread concerns about the qualifications, which were introduced this summer as part of ongoing reforms aimed at reducing testing. Kenneth Muir, chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland and chair of the working group, stressed that all curriculum changes had teething troubles, but warned of "evidence of unrealistic and unsustainable over-assessment involved in this year's exams". The EIS teaching union welcomed recommendations such as reducing verification paperwork, but attacked the report's "failure" to acknowledge the factors behind the excessive workloads.

Learning festival dedicates sessions to parents

A programme of events aimed at parents and carers is being launched at the Scottish Learning Festival this year to help forge links with teachers and other education staff. The National Parent Forum of Scotland and the Scottish Parent Teacher Council will run a series of discussions at the festival's first ever sessions to be aimed specifically at parents. The free event is taking place next month at the SECC in Glasgow. For more information and to register, visit www.scottishlearningfestival.org.uk

BBC project aims to provide a classical education

Starting this autumn, cinemas across Scotland will be screening a film showcasing some of the best music the classical world has to offer in a new project aimed at improving children's creativity. The BBC's Ten Pieces project will involve a week of free screenings of a new 60-minute film introducing primary pupils to a broad repertoire from baroque to contemporary. It will be accompanied by free teaching resources to encourage seven- to 11-year-olds to compose music themselves, some of which will be performed at a series of concerts across the UK. Visit bit.lyBBCTenPieces for details.

Crime pays for sporting initiative

Young people living in crime-ridden neighbourhoods will be offered "life-changing" sporting opportunities thanks to a pound;1.5 million award announced this week to build on the legacy of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The Scottish government is investing the funding in Scottish Sports Futures under the CashBack for Communities scheme, which takes money recovered from criminal activities to support projects to help people nationwide.

British Council event connects classrooms

A free event to help connect Scottish pupils with peers around the world is being held in Edinburgh next month. The British Council is inviting teachers to a professional development workshop to learn how to set up school partnerships, including applying for funding to support initiatives, to help bring an "international dimension" to school life. The workshop, part of the council's Connecting Classrooms programme, will take place on 4 September. To register, contact schools@britishcouncil.org

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