Most services to protect children in Dumfries and Galloway leave something to be desired, inspectors have reported. The joint inspection, led by HMIE, rated the 18 indicators of quality as "good" in seven cases and "adequate" in 11 for services provided by education, health, social work, police and voluntary organisations.
Among the features found wanting were "inconsistent" recording of information in education files and a lack of co-ordination in approaches by schools to personal safety. But there was praise for initiatives such as Big World, which aims to give S6 pupils skills to keep them safe.
A follow-up inspection of child protection in Midlothian concludes that good progress has been made since 2006 when it received the worst inspection, with three services judged "unsatisfactory", 12 "weak" and three "adequate". The report led to the resignations of the council's director of social work and chair of the social work committee. Since then, there had been "a significant change in culture," says a report to Midlothian Council's cabinet.
A project in the north of Scotland to help disadvantaged young people get jobs is one of the recipients of a pound;15.4 million European funding package announced last week.
The Youthbuild project will run for a year throughout the Highlands and Islands in a partnership between Barnardos Scotland and Scottish and Southern Energy. Employers will guarantee a job for young people who complete the project, one of 45 in the area being supported in the first tranche of 2007-13 Euro funding. The rest of Scotland will get pound;158 million in the first round of the programme.
The grande dame of country music has chosen the Wigtown area in Dumfries and Galloway to ensure pre-school youngsters get one book every month free from her library project. The initiative is the first in Scotland by the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, founded by the singer in 1996 to inspire infants in her hometown in Tennessee to read.
HMIE has reached a rare conclusion in the case of Aberdeen College, where "no significant areas for improvement were identified". The top score of "very good" was given to all seven cross-college elements; student achievement was rated "very good" in five of the eight subject areas reviewed and "good" in three.