A week in education

14th March 2008 at 00:00
Glasgow City Council has expressed deep misgivings about the SNP Government's plans to replace public-private partnerships to build schools and other public works with a Scottish Futures Trust.

It is particularly sceptical about the extent of the funding available under the trust, which would raise bonds on the financial markets to pay for projects.

Under PPP, councils have been given support set at 80 per cent of the capital cost of a project, and Glasgow's Labour-run council says it would expect that to continue.

The Scottish Futures Trust is intended to be a non-profit operation, but there are growing signs that private contractors do not like it, according to Public Private Finance magazine. It quoted Frank Nelson, finance director at construction group Galliford Try, who warned: "The private sector is not going to invest if it's not going to get a reasonable profit."

The lifetime of the Schools of Ambition programme will remain as originally intended, Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, confirmed last week. She announced that support of pound;11.5 million would keep it going for the next three years to effect "transformational change" in the 52 schools involved.

But Ms Hyslop repeated her view expressed in opposition that the lessons learned should be applied in every school thereafter.

The Hunter Foundation, which has invested heavily in the project, says it wants to work with the Government to ensure that happens.

A new Celtic Nations Autism Partnership has been formed to work with governments in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to share information and skills in dealing with autism.

This was announced last week as Alex Salmond, the First Minister, visited the New Struan School in Alloa, which is run by the Scottish Society for Autism.

Four Scottish councils have won top prizes for educational and other work with children in the excellence awards run by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

North Ayrshire Council's inclusive childcare programme, an initiative in Argyll and Bute to promote health through outdoor learning, West Dunbartonshire Council's "travelling green" to school project and the Anne Frank+You festival created by Fife Council took the honours in their categories. The annual awards attracted 163 entries.

An Edinburgh sixth-year pupil has beaten 750,000 competitors from 192 countries in the annual online World Maths Day marathon. Rock Tsui, of George Heriot's School, came second in the world and first in the UK, answering 62,273 questions at an average of more than 40 a minute in the 48-hour contest.

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