Student teachers on PGDE courses are among the 3,000 postgraduates to have been hit by a demand from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland for an immediate payment of pound;2,200 to pay off their graduate endowment fee. The demand is an unintended consequence of the scrapping of the fee by the Scottish Government. The winding-up of the scheme means that the SAAS must collect all outstanding debts.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "Under the complex system set up by the previous administration, postgraduates - although allowed to defer payment - would still have had to pay the endowment fee."
Postgraduates could apply for a loan which would not have to be repaid until they earned more than pound;15,000, he said.
A joint inspection report on child protection in North Ayrshire has produced a mixed verdict. Services were given seven very good ratings, six good, four satisfactory and one weak (operational planning). Inspectors said the local authority's housing services exemplified best practice, in protecting children and minimising the impact of homelessness. They also praised the leadership and innovative work of the child-protection committee.
Plans by the SNPLiberal Democrat council in Edinburgh to close kitchens in 20 schools and nurseries have come under attack from Unison, which represents kitchen staff, and the Labour Party. The council hopes to save pound;500,000 by closing the kitchens in 14 out of 18 nurseries and six primaries. Agnes Petkevicius, secretary of Unison's City of Edinburgh Branch, said: "This means that kids often will not get a hot meal, as the school lunch was their only one of the day, especially for those on free school meals."
Alex Salmond, the First Minister, has formally opened the new 1,500-pupil St Matthew's Academy in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire. He used the occasion to affirm his strong support for faith schools. The council now has a full set of schools named after the four evangelists - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The new one is the only Catholic secondary school in North Ayrshire, and was formed by the amalgamation of St Andrew's Academy in Saltcoats and St Michael's Academy, Kilwinning.
Enquire, the Scottish advice and information service for additional support for learning, has launched a revamped site for young people. The redesign emphasises accessibility and interaction, with a raft of new features. These include Enquiring Zod, which allows young people to tell others about their lives.