The number of pupils in schools will decrease for the next six years, according to official projections - from 692,000 in 2007 to 658,000 in 2014. There will then be a rise which will peak at 675,000 in 2022. Over the next two years, the largest decrease in the primary population will be in East Dunbartonshire, where numbers will decline by 600; Glasgow, by contrast, will see an increase of 200. In the secondary sector, the largest drop will be in three of the main cities - 1,200 in Glasgow, 1,000 in Edinburgh and 700 in Aberdeen.
Also published were figures on the number of home-educated children. This showed that 579 pupils had been removed from their school in 2007-08, a 3 per cent rise; another 177 were being educated at home who had never been to school, a 27 per cent increase. The groups represent 0.1 per cent of the 5-15 age group. But these are youngsters "known by local authorities", and home education campaigners claim the real figure is much higher.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority recognised an all-rounder from Loudon Academy in Kilmarnock as the top academic performer of the year in its Star Awards. Michael Doroszenko was its best arts, science and music student. School candidate of the year, which recognises a leading role in the wider life of the school, as well as academic achievement, was Holli Coleman of Bellshill Academy.
An Aberdeenshire teacher has reached the final of the John Logie Baird Awards, which celebrate innovation in Scotland. Elaine Stephen of Buchanhaven Primary in Peterhead, invented Walkodile, which keeps three to seven-year-old pupils safer on outdoor trips. She will compete against other finalists at a gala ceremony in the Glasgow Science Centre on December 10.
Nominations for entries to the Scottish Education Awards are open. Fiona Hyslop, the Education Minister, launched the call last week at Shawlands Academy in Glasgow, which won the "greener schools" award last year and the "sustainable schools" award at the UK celebration. Closing date is February 27.
Last week's issue incorrectly stated that The Robe of Skulls was one of the books of the year in the Royal Mail Awards for Scottish children's books. It should have been Billy Monster's Daymare. Apologies for the error.