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News at a glance

Michael Russell: from minister to professor

Michael Russell, who held the post of education secretary from 2009-14, has this week taken up a part-time professorship in Scottish culture and governance at the University of Glasgow. In his new role, Mr Russell, who was succeeded as education secretary by Angela Constance last November, will teach and give an annual public lecture on aspects of Scottish culture and society. The MSP for Argyll and Bute will also carry out research. University of Glasgow principal, professor Anton Muscatelli, said Mr Russell had a "long background and interest in Scottish culture and society", adding: "His knowledge and insights will be of tremendous benefit to our students and staff, and we are all very much looking forward to working with him."

School's mock e-election mirrors real result

A secondary school in Dundee has held what was claimed to be the first mock "e-election" in Scotland, to coincide with the general election. Pupils at St John's RC High School voted for candidates in the Dundee West constituency using software designed by local company AthenaTesting, which the school has also used to set homework assignments. The win for SNP candidate Chris Law, with 64 per cent of the vote, closely matched the actual result. Principal teacher of modern studies Dave Keenan said pupils had enjoyed using the technology to engage with politics.

Senior teachers struck off for cocaine possession

A headteacher and deputy headteacher in Dumfries and Galloway were removed from the teaching register last week after admitting to being in possession of cocaine. Mark Turner, headteacher of Dumfries High, and Lesley Wilson, depute headteacher of Wallace Hall Academy in Thornhill, were caught with the drug together in Carlisle last June. The teachers received a caution from Cumbria police for the offence and neither returned to work. Both Mr Turner and Ms Wilson waived their right to a full General Teaching Council for Scotland fitness to teach hearing, admitted the offence and said that they wished to be removed from the register.

Film warns children of the dangers of `legal highs'

The trend for taking "legal highs" is escalating, with children as young as 12 using the substances, according to Police Scotland's national drugs coordinator, detective inspector Michael Miller. In response, every school in Scotland will be given access to an interactive online film that aims to educate young people about the risks of psychoactive substances and alcohol. "It horrifies me that young people willingly take a substance without knowing what it contains or the effects it will have", Mr Miller said. "There is a myth that `legal high' means that they're safe to take, and that simply couldn't be further from the truth." For more information, visit

College competition tunes into songwriting talent

A pupil from St Maurice's High School in Cumbernauld will have her music immortalised after winning the top prize in a New College Lanarkshire songwriting competition. Louise Murray, 15, will have her song produced at the college's studios, having already performed The Fault in our Stars for a live audience of students. The song has also been broadcast on Radioactive Scotland, the college's radio station. Murray said she was "really proud" of the winning track. "Playing music is a way for me to calm down and de-stress, particularly when I'm worried about exams," she said. The competition was organised by HND sound production student Paul Welch as part of his graded unit.

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