News at a glance

Aberdeen teacher allowed back on register

A history teacher who was removed from the teaching register for "conduct that falls short of the standard expected of a teacher" has been allowed to return to the profession. Rachael Patterson (also known as Sedgwick) was dismissed from her job at St Machar Academy in Aberdeen and taken off the register last November after being convicted of acting in a racially aggravated manner when drunk on a night out. The General Teaching Council for Scotland's fitness to teach panel ruled at the time that public confidence in teachers would be "undermined" unless Ms Patterson was struck off. However, this month the panel accepted her application to return to teaching after concluding that she now "accepted the gravity of the offence".

Lower student numbers in higher education

Initial participation in higher education in the 16-30 age group has decreased from 56.1 per cent in 2011-12 to 54.7 per cent in 2012-13, according to figures published by the Scottish Funding Council this week. The rate fell across all levels of study, with the most marked drop at HNC and HND level. Universities continued to provide the majority of higher education, although participation at Scottish further education colleges was 21 per cent - down from 21.8 per cent the previous year. The gap in participation rates between the most- and least-deprived areas was found to have narrowed.

Football course strikes a chord with students

A free online course about football, with contributors including Scottish football legend Alan Hansen, has attracted almost 7,000 learners of all ages. The University of Edinburgh course, named Football: More Than a Game, covers the role of football in society, and its finances, accountability and rivalries. Registration for the six-week course, which began on 20 October, is still open. Course leader Professor Grant Jarvie, chair of sport at the university, said if it was possible to tap into people's love of football, "maybe we will be able to do more to support people in different parts of the world". For more information, visit www.futurelearn.comcoursesfootball

Job cuts and school closures loom for Highland teachers

Highland Council is proposing to close schools, reduce the number of teaching staff and shorten the school day in a bid to slash costs. The council hopes to save pound;15 million across all its services including education and has now begun consulting on the plans. These include schools merging to save pound;850,000, as well as a 1 per cent reduction in the number of secondary teaching staff, equivalent to 15 full-time posts, to save pound;600,000. A further pound;3.2 million saving could be achieved by shortening the school day of P4-7 pupils by half an hour.

New scheme could ban cars from schools

A project that could mean traffic being prohibited from around schools is getting under way in Edinburgh. Eleven schools are taking part in the pilot scheme, which will explore the effect of banning cars from school entrances at specific times of the day. It is intended to make such areas safer and promote travel to school on foot or by bike. A consultation on the proposals will begin in the first six schools next month, with the other five due to begin next year. The scheme could then be implemented in the first schools in August or September next year.

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