Pupils leaving schools will now have access to psychological services in all education authorities. Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, announced that post-school psychological services would be extended to the 12 council areas that currently do not have them - Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Argyll and Bute, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland. The scheme, which will cost pound;1.4 million next year, will be funded centrally by the Government until 2010. It is seen as a key ingredient in the Neet strategy of ensuring that young people enter education, employment or training when they leave school.
Teachers throughout Britain are being asked the question: too much testing, not enough performance? The survey, being carried out by the Centre for Educational Sociology at Edinburgh University, is inviting Scotland's teachers and their counterparts in England, Denmark, Finland and Sweden to give their views about the impact of testing, target-setting and league tables on the quality of education in schools. They can register their views at www.edsurvey.org.uk until March 21.
A small village primary school near Arbroath has been given a string of top marks by the inspectorate. Friockheim Primary, which has a roll of 160 pupils, including 20 in the nursery class, received eight "excellent" and six "very good" grades; even its self-evaluation, frequently the butt of negative HMIE comment, was rated excellent.
The Scottish Government is investing another pound;300,000 in the "fresh talent" initiative inherited from its predecessors, which aims to persuade international students and graduates to stay and work in Scotland. It is also being extended to help migrant workers settle in to work in Scotland. The cash for the International Students Challenge Fund, as it is known, will be available to colleges and universities from the 2008-09 academic session. To date, it has spent pound;700,000 on 56 projects.
Schools from as far distant as Orkney and Shetland should now stand a chance of being able to afford to send pupils to Our Dynamic Earth visitor centre in Edinburgh. Subsidies of up to pound;500, designed to "widen scientific engagement", will be available to each school and youth group towards travel costs; priority will be given to those facing geographic or social disadvantage. Bids have to be applied for and allocated before June, but visits can take place beyond that date.