A week in education

9th November 2007 at 00:00
Having involved Glasgow schools in rooting for their city to host the Commonwealth Games, Alex Salmond, the First Minister, went to St Margaret's Primary in Loanhead, Midlothian last week to launch a St Andrew's Day and Winter Festival programme. Every school will be sent a resource pack to stimulate their involvement in a series of events, which will run from November 30 through to the Burns season in January. Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, said young people would be "at the core" of the plans.

The leader of Edinburgh's education service has denied there is a "hit list" of schools destined for closure. Marilyne MacLaren, the council's convener for education, children and families, was disputing reports that a list of schools was being drawn up following the collapse of previous plans by the Liberal DemocratSNP administration to close 22 schools and educational centres to plug a pound;14 million "black hole" in its budget. She said a sub-committee would look at "rationalisation," involving schools and parents.

A "standard for childhood practice" was launched last week. This will be the basis for a new award to be introduced from next autumn, described as "a significant step towards developing the first integrated qualification and professional development framework for early years and childcare workers in Scotland."

The Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council are to hold an independent inquiry into allegations of abuse at Kerelaw School, which was run by the council before it closed in 2005. The probe will be headed by Eddie Frizzell, former boss of the Scottish Executive Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Department. Unison, which represents most staff at Kerelaw, said it hoped the inquiry would allow staff "to clear their names from the cloud of suspicion".

South of the border, an academic study has found that pound;553 million has been spent by the Government on its national literacy strategy over seven years to 2005, but there had been "almost no impact" on reading levels. Peter Tymms, professor of education at Durham University, who carried out the study on behalf of the review of primary education in England, said: "Standards have remained more or less the same since the 1950s."

Polmont Young Offenders Institution has been told to stop taking in children under the age of 16. A report by Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons said there were two at the time of the inspection, which was "deeply regrettable ... despite widespread opposition to the practice, a practice which should stop."

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