A week in education
Members of the main local government union, Unison, have ignored their leaders' advice and accepted a two-year pay deal. But staff with GMB and Unite, the other unions, have rejected the increase on offer - 3 per cent for 2008 and 2.5 per cent for 2009. Schools and other council services will have to wait until a meeting between the two sides, due next Tuesday, to see if strike action will continue. Unison leaders believe its members were influenced by the perilous state of council finances, the wider economic crisis "and the fact that Christmas is almost upon us."
National Anti-Bullying Week this week was marked by a Government pledge of Pounds 480,000 over three years to fund the confidential anti-bullying advice service provided by ChildLine Scotland. Maureen Watt, the Schools Minister, also announced new resources for those facing specific types of bullying, such as gay youngsters or those with learning disabilities. Fresh analysis of calls to ChildLine about bullying, released on Monday, revealed that the helpline in Scotland answered over 7,000 of the 32,562 calls made on the subject throughout the UK.
Another attempt to tackle spare capacity in Edinburgh primaries was due to be made by the city council yesterday when officials pressed for the closure of three small primaries with only 253 pupils among them - Lismore, Bonnington and Westburn. The budget-stricken city council has 9,500 excess primary places and receives Government funding only for those pupils it has.
Yet another Glasgow school has received top awards from HMIE, this time a special school. St Aidan's was rated "excellent" in one of the five quality indicators used in the new style of inspection and "very good" in the other four. The council says the school has set a standard for other Scottish special schools.
The Scottish Government has published the final report of the University Taskforce, which does little other than confirm the plans revealed in June for university funding to be much more closely aligned to national economic policies. There will be a "flexible general fund" for mainstream activities, and a "horizon fund" to support research and teaching aimed at "increasing sustainable economic growth". The taskforce was set up after complaints from the sector that it had fared badly in last year's spending review.