A week in education

12th September 2008 at 01:00

Scottish teachers have the seventh-highest salary out of 30 countries in a survey carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The regular Education at a Glance report from the OECD notes that the figure is favourable to Scotland because of the shorter time it takes teachers to reach the top of the pay scale - six years against the survey average of 24. Teachers here were also found to have the fifth- highest number of teaching hours per year, spending more of their working time in the classroom than in any of the other countries where data is available.

Scotland is ahead of other UK countries in pupils' take-up of the sciences and maths, according to a report by the Royal Society. Its State of the Nation report reveals that 12 per cent of 17-year-olds in Scotland sat Higher physics in 2007; the percentages of students taking A-levels were 4.7 per cent in Northern Ireland, 3.5 per cent in England and 2.7 per cent in Wales. Michael Reiss, director of education at the RS, said this could be because of the broader curriculum in Scotland, the stronger tradition of teaching the sciences separately and that the great majority of science teachers are specialists.

A less rosy picture of prospects for the sciences has emerged from research by Shell, which showed that children reject science careers as young as nine years old. A poll, based on a survey of 4,000 youngsters aged 9-14 throughout the UK, included a Scottish sample of 459. It concluded that those turned off the sciences amounted to a loss of 5,500 potential future scientists. Among the reasons cited for negative attitudes were that they did not want to sit in a lab all day, they could get a better-paid job elsewhere and communication skills would go unused.

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People has said she is not going to seek a second period in office when her five-year term ends in April. The replacement for Kathleen Marshall will be chosen by the Scottish Parliament.

A state-of-the-art school for sensory-impaired pupils in Glasgow, given prominent coverage in The TESS (September 7, 2007 and April 25, 2008)), has won an international award. Hazelwood School was one of only two schools in the world to win the top prize in the US DesignShare competition for being "at the crossroads of innovative design and pioneering education programmes."

A youth and student coalition in Scotland has collected over 10,000 signatures against the Scottish Government's plans to ban the purchasing of alcohol to under-21s in off-sales outlets, which NUS Scotland said would criminalise 237,700 students in Scotland.

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