A week in education

23rd November 2007 at 00:00
The teaching of Scottish history at Higher will no longer be just an option after the Scottish Qualifications Authority agreed to make it a mandatory part of the exam from 2010-11. It follows a consultation in which 62 per cent of respondents said Scottish history should be a compulsory part of the Higher in the subject.

Meanwhile, an HMIE report this week on the "immense potential" of history to contribute to the four capacities of A Curriculum for Excellence firmly endorses the view that "an understanding of one's own past helps learners to build a sense of identity, giving them greater confidence to find a place in the culturally-diverse society in which they live."

But, the inspectors continue, the freedom given to primary schools and in S1-2 courses means that "a balanced and coherent experience for pupils ... is far from guaranteed ... there is currently no certainty that pupils' engagement with history will allow them to build up a sense of how Scotland's past has developed."

The latest recruit to the new guard arriving in the education directorate in recent months is Terry Lanagan, who will take charge of education in West Dunbartonshire next month; he is currently education head of service with the council and was headteacher at Vale of Leven Academy.

He joins other new arrivals - Colin Grant, who has just taken over as director in Dumfries and Galloway, having made a dramatic leap from the headship of St Columba's High in Dunfermline; and Carol Kirk, who will be at the helm in North Ayrshire, having been in charge of inclusion in the education department for the past two years.

The coming of age of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was celebrated in Scotland this week with an 18th birthday party and exhibition in the Scottish Parliament, illustrating the 42 articles of the convention. Young people chose the illustrator and influenced the illustrations, such as the one pictured - article 28 on the right to an education.

The national El Sistema music education programme in Venezuela, credited with turning children on to music and learning, has been given a pound;250,000 boost to establish the initiative in Scotland. The funds have come from Scottish businesses active in Venezuela. The programme is being piloted in Stirling's Raploch area.

An HMIE report on child protection services in the Western Isles, which has seen some high-profile crises, has returned a verdict of two very good evaluations, nine good, six adequate and one weak (operational planning).

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has lost its charitable status, which will cost it pound;450,000 in rates relief, because it is subject to direction by Government ministers. It does not plan to appeal.

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