A week in education

28th March 2008 at 00:00
A link has been forged between the world's most famous science fiction film-maker and Glow, Scotland's intranet for schools. The George Lucas Educational Foundation, set up by the Star Wars director in 1991, has named Learning and Teaching Scotland's Laurie O'Donnell a member of its "Global Six". Each year, the not-for-profit foundation names six individuals from across the world who are reshaping education. Mr O'Donnell, learning and technology director, has been recognised for his work with Glow and for advancing ICT in education.

Units to boost links with China will be opened in schools across Scotland. The Confucius Classrooms initiative will provide lessons in Chinese language and culture. The aim is to develop eight classrooms across 14 authorities. The first has been opened by Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop at Perth High.

Falling school rolls mean the pupil:teacher ratio fell from 13.3 in 2006 to 13.1 last year. National statistics also show teachers have become younger - 43-and-a-half years old. The number of teachers based in primary, secondary and special schools, plus visiting specialists, rose by 151 to 52,970. There were only 1,514 teachers in the pre-school sector, 172 fewer than in January 2007.

The first plans for Strathclyde University's new pound;60 million education faculty building have been revealed. It will include bespoke research space, while applied music students will share rehearsal space with some of the world's top musicians at Glasgow's City Halls. The project is thought to be the biggest investment in any UK education faculty's infrastructure. The move from its Jordanhill site will see the entire university based on a single campus. The move is planned for 2011.

Young pupils in five councils will continue to get free meals until the end of the school year, Children's Minister Adam Ingram has announced. The Scottish Government is extending the trial of free school meals for all P1-3s in those areas until the summer.

More than half of children in care are being "pushed out" of the system aged 16, many vulnerable to homelessness, drugs, drink and unemployment, according to the report Sweet 16, published this week by Kathleen Marshall, Scotland's Children's Commissioner. Among her 23 recommendations is a call on the Scottish Government to ban BBs for care-leavers.

Midlothian Council has responded "quickly and positively" to inspectors' criticism of child protection services. HMIE published its initial report in February last year and revisited the authority in December: "There was still considerable work to be done, but services were now much better."

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