A week in education
The Labour Party in Scotland claims that the pound;281 million the SNP Government intends to spend on introducing local income tax could pay for 10,000 teachers. Rhona Brankin, the party's education spokesperson, who will continue in her role under new leader Iain Gray, said: "To hold this money back in the face of a growing crisis in our classrooms is disgraceful." Labour's calculation is based on the cost of a newly- qualified post-probationary teacher (including superannuation and national insurance) at Pounds 29,891; this means that pound;281 million would buy 9,367 teachers.
Some children in South Lanarkshire have to wait too long for support when they are abused and neglected, according to an inspectorate report on child protection. Although action was taken to help those at risk, the HMIE-led review concluded, more thorough assessments of risk and needs were necessary. Of the 18 indicators of quality, South Lanarkshire services were handed nine evaluations of "very good", five "good" and four "satisfactory".
The union representing local government staff in pay disputes with councils claims some authorities are putting pupils at risk in order to undermine their strike action. Unison, whose members staged their second walk-out on Wednesday, has accused East Ayrshire and Perth and Kinross councils of "one-upmanship over their striking staff". It alleges the councils opened schools which should have been closed last month by having untrained staff cover for health and safety, providing no lunches, drafting in five-year-olds to keep them clean and abandoning checks on whether pupils turned up.
A "summer school watch" scheme has helped cut vandalism in Renfrewshire schools by more than half during the holidays. A campaign targeting 14 schools this summer, up from 10 last year, saw the cost of vandalism fall from pound;24,373 to pound;12,023. The most impressive was at Heriot Primary, Paisley which experienced a 91 per cent drop in its repair bill.
East Renfrewshire Council is in talks with fast-food giant Subway about opening an outlet in a secondary school. The council insists the move will only go ahead if Subway can comply with healthy-eating regulations and incorporate popular items currently on sale. A council spokesman stressed that corporate branding was prevalent in schools, through IT-related corporations such as Google, for example, and a genuine high-street name would have greater pulling power than branded canteens dreamt up by the council.