Children's groups call for unified ASN approach
A group of children's organisations has hit out at the Scottish government for failing to provide accurate figures on pupils with additional support needs in Scotland. The criticism follows a report, published last week, which shows that a third of children in Glasgow have additional needs compared with only 8 per cent in North Lanarkshire (bit.lySCSCsupport). The Scottish Children's Services Coalition (SCSC) is calling on the government to issue stricter guidance on how children with ASN are identified and recorded so that all young people get the support they need. The Scottish government said the figures could not be "fairly compared" as each local authority was "an autonomous body".
Parliament calls for comments on attainment gap
The Scottish Parliament's Education Committee is calling for evidence on whether councils that fail to boost the performance of pupils from poorer backgrounds should suffer sanctions. It is asking teachers, parents and others for their views on new legislation introduced to Parliament last month, which is designed to improve results for pupils from poorer backgrounds. The legislation also aims to strengthen and grow Gaelic education and introduces a new chief education officer post in every council. bit.lyCallForEvidence
Union attacks `flawed' college audit report
A national audit of further education in Scotland has been described as "flawed and superficial" by college lecturers' representatives. The EIS teaching union has criticised the findings of the Audit Scotland report on Scottish further education, Scotland's Colleges 2015 (bit.lyAuditColleges), saying it was not invited to offer input and the report does not accurately reflect the effects of recent mergers and funding cuts. EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said that, in particular, the report's conclusion that the changes had had a "minimal negative impact" on students was simply wrong. He added: "The reality is that, for many prospective students, access to appropriate FE learning opportunities is now far more limited."
Sturgeon challenges ESOL accreditation changes
First minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to the UK government after changes to rules governing English language courses and citizenship were announced. The new rules mean that English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority will no longer be recognised for those seeking British citizenship. A Scottish government spokeswoman said it was concerned that the move would have "a negative impact on how provision and SQA ESOL qualifications are promoted". A Home Office spokesperson said that changes were being made to the English language qualifications it would accept for settlement and naturalisation, and from November applicants would be required to take a test at an approved centre.
College head scoops public-sector award
Dundee and Angus College principal Christina Potter, inset, has been named public-sector director of the year by the Institute of Directors in Scotland. The principal was recognised for her achievements over recent years, including the opening of the pound;48 million Gardyne Campus in 2011 and the successful merger between Dundee and Angus Colleges to create Damp;A College in 2013. "I was delighted to be nominated for this prestigious award and to win is simply the icing on the cake," said Ms Potter, who became the principal of Dundee College in 2007 and is set to retire in August.