A week in education

5th December 2008 at 00:00

The Education Secretary has launched a consultation on changes to the financial support system for post-16 learning, following a review of the Educational Maintenance Allowance this year. Fiona Hyslop said she wanted to refocus the support available to those most in need. Claire Baker, Labour's Further and Higher Education spokesperson, warned against further erosion of the EMA scheme, saying the SNP had made a 20 per cent cut (around Pounds 8 million) to that budget. The consultation was announced in parallel with a government launch of its 16+ Learning Choices strategy, which aims to provide better learning opportunities and guidance for young people.

Glasgow, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire councils have broken ranks with other local authorities in deciding to implement the pay award to local government employees, including non-teaching staff in schools. The award, worth 3 per cent this year and 2.5 per cent in 2009, has been accepted by members of Unison, the main union, but rejected by GMB and Unite. The councils' decision will mean a pre-Christmas pay-out for staff, Pounds 13 million in the case of Glasgow. But seasonal cheer soon became more muted when it emerged that the council is to shed almost 400 jobs in the city over the next two years (p3).

The SNP Government has pledged that school building programmes will be given priority in the share-out of the Pounds 260 million which will come to Scotland following the UK Chancellor's pre-Budget report last week. Further education will also benefit from investment to make the college estate more energy-efficient.

The number of children looked after by authorities has risen by 6 per cent in the past year to 14,886 - the highest since 1983. The number of care leavers in education, training or employment went up by 300 this year to 1,144, out of a total of 3,765 young people reported as being eligible for aftercare services. The range of the 0-18 population in care was from 2.5 per cent in Glasgow to 0.4 per cent in East Dunbartonshire.

A council nursery in Edinburgh is boasting the title of "best in Britain". Cowgate Under 5s Centre took top spot at an awards ceremony in London, run by Nursery World magazine.

Learning and Teaching Scotland is calling for applications to participate in seminars at next year's Scottish Learning Festival, for which The TESS is media partner. Deadline is December 19: www.ltscotland.org.uk.

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