A week in education

13th June 2008 at 01:00
The "magnificent support" of teachers for asylum-seeking pupils is one of the good things about being a child in Scotland, according to a joint progress report by the four UK children's commissioners to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
The "magnificent support" of teachers for asylum-seeking pupils is one of the good things about being a child in Scotland, according to a joint progress report by the four UK children's commissioners to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. It notes, however, that there is still a tendency to demonise young people across the UK, despite the progress in recent times on children's rights and improving children's services. In its Scottish education section, the report notes that education authorities do not take sufficient account of the views of young people before reaching decisions that significantly affect them, despite a legal obligation to do so.

Geography teachers are spreading their wings, according to HMIE. Its latest report this week, a portrait of the subject in secondary schools, notes that, until recently, there has been very little evidence of geography departments working in collaboration with other departments. However, partly as a result of heightened public awareness of the threat of global environmental issues, more geography teachers are now taking greater interest in school-wide activities, such as those involving Eco-Schools Scotland.

Members of the union Unite who work for the Educational Institute of Scotland have voted to take strike action in a pay dispute. The EIS has offered its office staff a five-year deal of less than 3 per cent a year in the first three years which, Unite complains, is less than the current inflation rate of 4.1 per cent. It, therefore, amounts to a wage cut, they say.

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop has moved to close the loophole which meant that 2,457 postgraduate students would not have been able to pay off their deferred graduate endowment fee by loan. Emergency regulations will be rushed through parliament before the end of the summer recess, allowing them to come into force on June 30. The students will not now have to make repayments, in cash or by loan, until they have completed their studies.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats believe they have caught out the SNP Government on science spending, after revealing that Glasgow Science Centre is to have its budget slashed by 40 per cent over the next three years. The news comes five months after the Education Secretary hailed its "bright future" and in the week when the latest official survey of 5-14 year olds found they performed poorly in science tests at school (p6).

The former education spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Ewan Aitken, is to step down as leader of the Labour group on Edinburgh City Council, where he was previously convener for children and families, after taking up a post as secretary to the Church of Scotland's church and society council. He will remain a city councillor.

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