A Week in Education

17th October 2008 at 01:00

The SNP Government insists that pre-school children will have greater access to nursery teachers, despite the move by Renfrewshire Council to axe nursery schools and remove teachers from them, leading to fears of provision being "diluted" (TESS October 3). In a parliamentary answer, Adam Ingram, the Children's Minister, said "access to the input of a qualified teacher" was key to driving up quality for the under-fives. He said there was no intention to define how much access there should be but added: "We are clear that we do expect to see an overall increase in the level of teacher involvement in pre-school in all local authorities."

An additional Pounds 2.7 million for Gaelic education was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond at the opening of the National Mod in Falkirk last week. Almost all the cash, Pounds 2.6 million, will be used to renovate and build schools over the next two years. The rest will fund a Gaelic teacher recruitment officer, an "advocacy scheme" for parents and youth scheme for speakers.

Labour's education spokesperson has called for action from the Education Secretary to "stop the rot in Aberdeen schools". Rhona Brankin's intervention follows last week's revelation in The TESS that the city council has admitted its schools are no longer able to meet pupils' needs. In the light of this, Ms Brankin said, "the Education Secretary simply cannot stand idly by."

More resources should be devoted to specialist services for young people with mental health problems, says Scotland's Children's Commissioner. Kathleen Marshall's call followed the publication of the annual report from the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, which revealed that there were 142 admissions of under-18s to non-specialist services last year; 90 per cent of these were to adult psychiatric wards.

Authorities have been urged to pay more attention to the educational needs of pupils caring for family members. Adam Ingram, the Children's Minister, said young carers were specified in legislation as requiring additional support - different homework, extra time with a teacher or help to join in homework clubs. The recent young carers festival in West Linton heard that many teachers lacked an appreciation of carers' home circumstances. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers estimates there are 100,000 young carers in Scotland, but the official figure is less than 20,000.

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