A week in education

2nd January 2009 at 00:00

Far-reaching changes on "transforming children's services" have been approved by Scottish Borders Council after lengthy and heated consultation. Among the 133 proposals which were accepted were shared headships of primary schools, which will reduce the number from 65 to 42, intended to allow them more time for leadership and school improvement; principal teacher numbers in primaries will be reduced, to 54, and they will have the equivalent of one day non-teaching time a week for management duties.

The education budget in Aberdeen faces a 3.8 per cent reduction as part of a Pounds 24 million package of cuts, less than the 6 per cent initially demanded. Among the casualties will be learning support in schools which will see 200 assistants' posts lost.

Local authorities and educational establishments have paid out over a quarter of a million pounds in compensation and legal expenses as a result of industrial accidents or attacks against teaching staff, in cases involving members of the Educational Institute of Scotland. But only Pounds 180,000 was actually paid to claimants, the remainder being legal costs to employers.

"Silly" and "bureaucratic" procedures are being used to improve attendance by teachers and other council staff which have exactly the opposite effect, according to the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association. It cites cases of teachers being required to report in every week, even where they have medical certificates to prove they have long-term illnesses.

The official inquiry which is investigating cases of alleged abuse by staff against former pupils at Kerelaw residential school should not smear "wholly innocent teachers", their union has warned. The Educational Institute of Scotland is concerned that staff are suffering damage to their reputations and careers simply because of their past employment at Kerelaw.

Eleven of Scotland's 20 higher education institutions are in the UK top 100 for "world-leading" research, according to the latest research assessment exercise, which is critical for their future funding. Edinburgh University leads the table at 12th in the UK, with 22 per cent of staff working on projects ranked in the top four-star category. Glasgow Caledonian University is in 93rd place with 5 per cent of such staff.

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