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The points they made

* Authorities in Germany are considering a shift from external inspection to self-evaluation, development planning, advice and support to schools, Michael O'Neill, director of education in North Lanarkshire, said.

* Two-thirds of Glasgow secondaries are developing thinking skills through science in S1 and S2, David Lawson, the city's science adviser, revealed. Glasgow is extending a postgraduate certificate run in conjunction with Strathclyde University to counter primary teachers' lack of confidence in science teaching.

* Science courses are ot good at capitalising on the science that surrounds pupils outside school, Jack Jackson, HMI, said. Too many lessons were dated.

* Global commercial software packages need to be tailored to the needs of Scottish education, Mike Baughan, chief executive of Learning and Teaching Scotland, suggested. Educational software was seen as a highly lucrative market worldwide.

"It's important we try to influence such development and ensure what is produced is high-quality and relevant to the needs of teachers and learners," Mr Baughan said.

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