A week in education

19th October 2007 at 01:00
A petition calling for cuts in class sizes signed by some 80,000 Scots is believed to be the second largest petition ever considered by the Scottish Parliament.

Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, which organised the petition, warned that the issue "must not become a political football", given the consensus among parties in their election manifestos that class sizes should be reduced. "These cuts would allow us to move up the international table on class size numbers and, more importantly, allow our young people to receive the individual attention and support that they deserve," he said.

Almost half of Scots are put off working with children because of fears they will be accused of harming them, according to a survey by the Children's Commissioner. It found that 69 per cent of adults are willing to consider working with children; only 5 per cent do. The poll revealed that 48 per cent of adults said concern about being falsely accused of harming youngsters is the primary deterrent. Kathleen Marshall, the commissioner, suggested that the Scottish Government should consider setting up a service to advise and encourage adults who want to volunteer to work with young people.

The inspectorate has told ministers informally that it is seeing a "positive move" towards the national target of ensuring all pupils get two hours of physical education every week by the end of the 2007-08 session. The information came in a parliamentary answer from Maureen Watt, the junior education minister.

Four Scottish schools have been recognised for their work in international education. Peebles High, St Andrew's High in Kirkcaldy, Govan High and Balornock Primary in Glasgow received their awards from BBC journalist George Alagiah at a ceremony in London.

A book about a boy and his talking brain tumour has been selected by third and fourth-year pupils in North Lanarkshire as the best in contemporary teenage fiction this year. Pupils from the council's 25 secondaries cast almost 1,000 votes for the four shortlisted books selected by school and public librarians. Anthony McGowan was the winner, with Henry Tumour.

Scottish parents admitted they would consider moving house to get their children into a good school, according to a poll commissioned by the Children's Society; 45 per cent said they would relocate. The survey is part of the society's UK Good Childhood Inquiry, the results of which were published on Wednesday. The team will hold meetings on lifestyle, health and values before publishing its final report in early 2009.


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