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EU applications to Scottish universities increase

Scottish universities have received a 13 per cent increase in applications from students from other European Union countries in the past four years, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas). The figures show that the number of applications from EU residents - who compete directly with Scottish applicants - rose from about 17,000 to 19,200. A record number of applications from Scottish-domiciled students were also received by Ucas, rising by 2 per cent on last year to 43,720. Both unions and student representative bodies said that steps needed to be taken to ensure that young Scots from the most disadvantaged backgrounds were not excluded.

Parent groups do more than fundraise, survey says

Fundraising remains the most common activity among parent councils but is only one of their concerns, according to a survey by the Scottish Parent Teacher Council (bit.lySPTCSurvey). The council found that 92 per cent of parent groups raise money but also discovered that they engage in a huge variety of other activities. These range from campaigning on issues such as road safety and running social media sites to supporting schools in implementing new timetables, modern language provision and improving library services. The council said the results were encouraging, with parents getting more involved than ever.

Fair employment promise at Forth Valley College

Forth Valley College has become the first college to make the Scottish Business Pledge, committing to paying the living wage and not employing staff on zero-hours contracts. The pledge also obligates the college to support progressive workforce engagement, pursue international business opportunities and play an active role in the community. Associate principal Andrew Lawson said it was essential for organisations to treat staff as well as possible and to commit to conditions that reflected how much they were valued and respected. Finance secretary John Swinney said the college's move to make the pledge "speaks clearly to the ambition and innovation which underpins their success".

Leading engineers advise East Ayrshire students

Physics pupils from four East Ayrshire schools have received first-hand practical advice from leading figures in the world of science and engineering. More than 100 S3 pupils from Kilmarnock, St Joseph's, Loudoun and Stewarton academies attended Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society's fourth annual physics and engineering day. Former aircraft test pilot John Bolton and Dr Matt Stickland, a senior lecturer in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Strathclyde, told the pupils about their work, as well as offering careers advice and guidance on how to become an engineering student.

Language course trains staff from across Scotland

More than 30 teachers from across the country have taken part in a summer school to help boost language learning. The week-long Training the Trainers course, run jointly by SCILT (Scotland's National Centre for Languages) and Education Scotland, included practical tips for language learning in primary, as well as networking opportunities and access to academic research. SCILT director Fhiona Fisher said the aim of the course was for the participants to be able to facilitate effective professional development among their colleagues. The teachers who took part came from 21 of Scotland's 31 local authorities and already had some knowledge of learning and teaching languages including German, Italian, Latin, Russian and Welsh.

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