A week in education

6th February 2009 at 00:00

Pupil behaviour in Scottish schools is in the news again, but for different reasons as the team which carries out the influential three-yearly survey on the subject gets to work. Pamela Munn, professor of curriculum research at Edinburgh University, who heads the group, has called for a high response rate from the schools taking part to assure "quality and robustness". Questionnaires have gone to a sample of primaries and secondaries, which will be followed up by focus groups with staff and a range of activities in 16 schools to gather views from pupils.

There is no need for a national database on school playing fields since the key decisions are taken locally, Schools Minister Maureen Watt told parliament last week. She was replying to a debate initiated by Christine Grahame, SNP MSP, who highlighted the threat from developers to a primary school playing field in Penicuik. Ms Watt pointed out that the number of planning applications affecting playing fields has been falling, from 118 in 2005 to 50 in 2008. And, she added, although 322 have been lost since 1996 out of a total of 5,900, they have been replaced by 196 synthetic grass pitches.

The SNP Government is in danger of reneging on its commitment to ensure there is renewable generation in every Scottish school, according to Labour's environment spokesperson Sarah Boyack. School renewable development officers started work in October and are only at the "facilitating" stage in around 30 schools, she claimed.

"Very good progress" is reported by HMIE on child protection measures taken in Angus and East Lothian council areas following recommendations in initial inspections.

A newly-formed educational publishing company has scored a coup by snatching the contract for past examination papers from former bosses. Edinburgh-based Bright Red Publishing, founded by four employees of Leckie and Leckie, has been awarded the three-year deal by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The charitable status of Scottish further education colleges is secure, and with it Pounds 50 million of income from rate and rent rebates, following the passing by parliament of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 Modification Order 2009. Colleges are now exempt from rules which bar ministers from intervening in the work of charities.

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