More than half of the 236 residential care services need to make improvements to their "patchy" standards of practice, according to a report by the Care Commission. Weaknesses were found particularly in the protection of children, planning for their care and the use of physical restraint (on which there is no accurate national picture). The commission recommends that the organisations which provide the 2,418 places for young people in care homes, residential special schools and secure accommodation need to improve training and assessment for their staff.
In one of the most damning reports on a Scottish local authority, the Accounts Commission has said Aberdeen City Council cannot bring about the changes it needs in its management and finances without outside help and does not even appreciate the seriousness of its position. The report, which follows a public hearing held by the commission in Aberdeen (TESS May 16), is particularly critical of "the organisational structure and the lack of effective leadership and direction in education and social work, the two largest services."
It calls for a full recovery plan to be drawn up with external assistance once a "new and experienced" chief executive is appointed. Douglas Paterson, formerly a primary teacher and director of education, recently resigned as chief executive.
The public will be able to keep an "at-a-glance" check on how well Scotland is doing to meet Government targets. A new website, Scotland Performs, will track progress on the measures set out in the national performance framework, part of the spending review masterminded by John Swinney, the Finance Secretary. These include the number of school leavers and graduates ending up in "positive destinations" and the number of schools receiving "positive inspection reports."
Glasgow City Council is to restructure its service for the 9,500 children who have English as an additional language. They comprise one in eight of the city's pupil population. The 140 staff in the pound;5 million service will be deployed to schools and new learning communities based on an audit of needs.
A former headteacher and activist in the Educational Institute of Scotland, who was a leading figure on the General Teaching Council for Scotland from 1991-2001, is to be the council's new chief executive. Tony Finn, currently depute director of education in Fife, succeeds Matthew MacIver in September.
Six members have been appointed to the first board of Skills Development Scotland. They include Bill Stevely, former principal of The Robert Gordon University; Janet Lowe, chair of the skills committee of the Scottish Funding Council and former principal of Carnegie College; and Alan McGregor, director of the training and employment research unit at Glasgow University.