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New York school visit inspires first minister

Lessons learned from schools in New York could help to raise educational attainment in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said. During a visit to The Magnet School for science, technology, engineering and maths, Scotland's first minister saw how the involvement of parents and the community had raised school standards. The school in Brooklyn has faced similar challenges to some of Scotland's most disadvantaged areas. Ms Sturgeon, pictured, said the Scottish government would "look at and learn from successful models in Scotland, the UK and overseas, to gain as much evidence and knowledge as we can on how best to drive up standards".

Volunteering on the rise among Scotland's youth

Almost half of secondary-aged pupils in Scotland give up time to help others, a survey has suggested. Ipsos Mori's Young People in Scotland Survey, commissioned by umbrella group Volunteer Scotland, found that 45 per cent of young Scots aged 11-18 had volunteered formally and that some 59 per cent of young volunteers lent their time at least once a month. Just 10 per cent of respondents dismissed volunteering as "boring", half the level recorded in 2009. Volunteer Scotland's Helen Harper said the survey was "hugely encouraging". More details can be found at bit.lyVolunteerYoung

Secondary student publishes her first biography

A pupil from a North Lanarkshire secondary school has published a biography of celebrated charity worker Sister Anna Tommasi. Carleen Friel, of St Margaret's High School in Airdrie, met the retired nun when she was visiting Malawi in 2014. HosAnna from Malawian Prisons chronicles Sister Anna's life, from her girlhood near Verona to her work in Tanzania and Malawi, setting up a nursery project that now feeds thousands of children and an initiative to help wrongly convicted prisoners. Ms Friel has now left school and will study English and journalism at the University of Strathclyde. The book costs pound;5 and can be bought online or from Ms Friel's old school.

Teacher avoids being struck off for abuse of pupil

An Aberdeenshire secondary English teacher who shouted at a pupil that he was a "dwarf", "stupid" and "inhuman", has avoided being struck off. Christopher Butcher, who had worked at Fraserburgh Academy for 31 years, also grabbed the pupil by his shoulder and swung him around, and used a closed fist to push him into a wall. Mr Butcher's actions were captured on CCTV, which led to his dismissal and decision to leave the profession. The General Teaching Council for Scotland's fitness-to-teach panel issued a two-year reprimand after hearing that Mr Butcher, whose career was previously unblemished, had been suffering from health problems and dealing with distressing personal issues.

Student steps into ancestor's shoes for WWI play

An 11-year-old Glasgow pupil has played his great-great grandfather in a school play about the First World War. Tomas Malone, of Carmyle Primary School, took on the role of Lance Corporal William Haddow, who died in France aged 16, having lied about his age in order to join up. Some 23 of Tomas's P7 classmates also played local soldiers, whose backgrounds they had researched. Teacher Anne Hutchison said: "We are so excited about the show. The experience of the war and its impact on people, their families and communities, has lent [the pupils'] studies an underlying authenticity."

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