News at a glance

Exam appeals fall 90 per cent under new system

The number of exam appeals has dropped by 87.3 per cent since the introduction of a system designed to eliminate speculative attempts to boost grades. This year, 8,448 requests were made to the new Post-Results Service, which requires schools to pay a fee if an appeal is turned down. About 2,175 (26 per cent) were successful. Last year, the old system dealt with 66,201 appeals, of which nearly half succeeded. TESS recently revealed that schools in different parts of Scotland were taking radically different approaches to the system ("Re-marking `gamble' is a postcode lottery", 5 December), with some submitting many appeals as others cut down significantly.

Seven-year youth employment plan unveiled

The Scottish government has published its new youth employment strategy, pledging a 40 per cent reduction in youth joblessness over the next seven years. The government said it aimed to make Scotland one of the top five performing countries in the European Union on the issue by 2021. The document also outlines plans to increase the number of college students moving into employment or higher-level study, and to boost the number of employers recruiting young people directly from education.

College bursary budgets falling short by pound;11m

Student leaders have voiced concerns about a shortfall of pound;11.2 million in further education student bursaries and childcare funding in Scottish colleges. Robert Foster, NUS Scotland vice president for education, said the figures were "extremely worrying". The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) recently released the statistics on this year's funding, revealing that colleges had requested pound;14.7 million to top up bursary and childcare cash but that the SFC had made only pound;3.5 million available.

Scottish education gets a new voice in Labour

Former Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has been made the party's new education spokesman. Mr Gray, who stepped down as leader after the SNP's landslide win in the 2011 Scottish parliamentary elections, moves from finance to take over from Kezia Dugdale. She is now deputy to new Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy. EIS union general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "Although Ms Dugdale held the education brief for a relatively short period of time, she did actively engage with teaching unions in seeking to better represent the views of Scotland's teaching professionals and learners at the parliamentary level."

Christmas comes early for the TESS reporters

TESS reporter Henry Hepburn (pictured, right) was named business and professional magazine feature writer of the year at the Scottish Magazine Awards in Glasgow last week. The judges at the annual ceremony, which recognises the best in the Scottish magazine industry, praised his writing style and ability to lead the reader into a story. At the 10th CIPR Education Journalism Awards in London, also last week, TESS reporter Julia Belgutay was runner-up in the further education journalism category.

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