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Don't underestimate under-18s, politics expert says

The voting age should be lowered to 16 and politics should be discussed in schools, according to a report by thinktank dpart. The briefing, by Dr Jan Eichhorn from the University of Edinburgh's School of Social and Political Science, concludes that lowering the voting age in the Scottish independence referendum last month had a positive effect, and that extending this right to all elections could increase young people's interest in and engagement with politics. Informed discussions in Scottish classrooms would be key, the report stresses. Dr Eichhorn writes: "Fears of under-18s being inappropriately ideologised stem from an underestimation of young people's capabilities. We found these fears to be unfounded. Their engagement with politics is complex and they appreciate school as a space to do this." Find the briefing at bit.lyVotingAgeBriefing

Plans advance for joint Catholic and Jewish campus

Scotland could soon have Britain's first shared campus for Catholic and Jewish pupils, depending on the outcome of a consultation launched by East Renfrewshire Council. The proposed new pound;13.6 million school in Newton Mearns would replace Calderwood Lodge, Scotland's only Jewish primary, and house an additional new Catholic primary. The two schools would share sports and music facilities and a playground, but have separate entrances, classrooms and headteachers. The council said the formal consultation process followed positive talks with leaders and communities of both faiths. For more information, visit www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk

Reorganisation threatens Glasgow college staff

College staff in Glasgow could be facing relocation as part of a reorganisation of the curriculum, according to a report by the Glasgow Colleges Strategic Partnership. The paper states that plans for further education in the city until 2020 could mean millions of pounds' worth of course provision being moved from Glasgow Kelvin and Glasgow Clyde colleges to the City of Glasgow College. This could require the transfer of about 64 teaching staff, and might also mean making management and support staff at Glasgow Clyde and Glasgow Kelvin colleges redundant to keep the institutions financially sustainable.

New campaign to end homophobia in schools

Campaigners trying to stamp out homophobia in schools across Scotland are appealing for more support. LGBT Youth Scotland is urging teachers to back its new campaign, entitled Shh - Silence Helps Homophobia, by speaking out against prejudice and ignorance. Research by the group found that seven out of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people had suffered homophobic or biphobic bullying, with more than one in 10 leaving school as a result. For more information on the campaign, visit bit.lyShhCampaign

Merged colleges will have `substantial economic impact'

Scotland's colleges are "ideally placed" to boost the economy after the recent mergers, according to the sector's training and development agency. As Joe Wilson was appointed chief executive of the College Development Network last week, he expressed confidence that Scottish colleges could now have a "substantial economic impact" by fostering learning at regional, national and international levels. Mr Wilson, who will leave his current role as head of new ventures at the Scottish Qualifications Authority to take up the post, is also a board member at Glasgow Clyde College.

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