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National survey shows drop in reading levels

Pupils' reading performance was slightly lower overall in 2014 than in 2012, a national survey has shown. According to the 2014 Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (bit.lyScotLiteracy2014), the proportion of pupils in P4 performing well or very well in reading was 78 per cent in 2014, down from 83 per cent two years earlier. In P7 the figure dropped by two percentage points to 88 per cent, and in S2 it fell from 84 to 80 per cent. The survey also shows that two-thirds of P4 and P7 pupils and more than half of S2 pupils are working well, very well or beyond the relevant level when it comes to writing. Announcing the results, education secretary Angela Constance said that Education Scotland inspections would now focus on raising attainment in literacy, and a new national improvement framework would be set up drawing on international best practice.

New Highers get under way across Scotland

Students sat the new Higher exams for the first time this week, as this year's Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exam period started across the country. Pupils will sit a total of 535,577 exams between 28 April and 5 June, ranging from Intermediate 1 and 2 and National 5 to the old and new versions of the Higher, as well as the established Advanced Higher. Janet Brown, SQA chief executive and Scotland's chief examining officer, said: "All our qualifications, including the new Higher, provide candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and understanding they've acquired and prepare them for further study, employment or training."

Suspended Glasgow principal called to meeting

Glasgow Clyde College principal Susan Walsh is to face a disciplinary meeting, the college has announced. In a statement, a spokesman said that Ms Walsh had been asked to attend the meeting after the conclusion of an independent review. "This will be held in accordance with the college's disciplinary procedures," he added. Ms Walsh was suspended in February, just weeks after her leadership was praised in an Education Scotland inspection report. At the time, the college did not give a reason for Ms Walsh's departure but announced an independent review, which has now concluded. The Scottish Funding Council subsequently revealed it would be undertaking its own investigation into the conduct of the board.

Book group urges pupils to go on a writing journey

The Scottish Book Trust is calling on schools to get involved in a new writing competition by encouraging pupils to write about a journey they have taken. The best submissions to the Journeys competition, which will run until 9 October, will be published in an e-book. All entries, which must be between 500 and 1,000 words long and can take the form of a story, song, poem or sketch, will be judged by the Scottish Book Trust's Young Writers awardees. The trust has also launched a resource pack for teachers, which can be found at www.scottishbooktrust.comwritingjourneysresources

Award recognises lifelong learning champion

Billy McKay, a learning representative at BAE Systems in Govan for the Unite union, has been named winner of the 10th annual STUC Helen Downie Award for Lifelong Learning for his work in organising learning for hundreds of employees. The award, sponsored by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Skills Development Scotland, was presented by first minister Nicola Sturgeon. She said: "Billy has striven to develop learning opportunities for hundreds of colleagues, not only at this site but across the UK, encouraging them to continue their learning and improve on the many skills they already have."

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