A week in education

12th January 2007 at 00:00
GREAT THINGS were claimed this week for the Scottish Executive's "active schools" initiative. A report shows that physical activity and sport sessions in schools have leapt by 53 per cent in primaries in the two years since the scheme was launched, backed by pound;12 million a year from ministers.

A total of 350,000 activity sessions, ranging from rugby to Scottish dance, took place in schools which had active schools co-ordinators in 2005-06, in addition to timetabled PE. While primaries benefited the most, there was a more modest overall increase of 17 per cent across all schools.

There are no detailed figures for the extent to which the national target of being physically active for 60 minutes a day has been reached. The only evidence comes from two case studies in South Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway: there, 73 per cent of primary youngsters but only 48 per cent of secondary pupils are achieving the target; these represent respective increases of 30 per cent and 9 per cent.

The latest link being forged by Scotland with Malawi comes from Glasgow, where the school of sport at Bellahouston Academy is to provide coaching sessions and athletic equipment for 15 schools around Lilongwe, the capital.

Six Malawian pupils will then get the chance to travel to Glasgow for an intensive two-week athletics scholarship programme.

This first exchange is intended to lead to further links between the school of sport and Malawi schools, according to Andy McIlvain, its acting director.

School and college students became key beneficiaries of cheaper travel this week, when new concessionary fares for 16 to 18-year-olds were introduced.

Students will be entitled to a third off single bus fares across Scotland, a free rail card giving them a third off rail travel and, for those living on the islands, two free ferry return journeys to the mainland.

Students on Higher National programmes who plan to take degree courses in engineering need more help with their maths, a study by Moray College in Elgin has found.

The lessons learned will now be applied nationally, following the setting up of a project known as Helm (helping engineers learn maths). It is part of a wider initiative aimed at increasing participation in higher education.

A new "educational programme" run by a holiday club to help pupils study while their parents bask in the sun on bargain breaks during term-time has found itself in hot water.

Club Las Calas, a British firm, runs a resort in Lanzarote and says that parents need its programmes to avoid paying over the odds for breaks during the school holidays.

One headteacher was furious when he received a newsletter from the club.

"There's no substitute for being in class with your own teacher," he said.

"This company is interfering with that."

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