A Week in Education

5th June 2009 at 01:00
The weekly news round-up

More than 100 schools and colleges have expressed an interest in offering the science and language baccalaureates from next session, according to Keith Brown, the Schools Minister. He said in a parliamentary answer that there would be "modest numbers" in the first year, which would grow steadily as the awards become established. The precise number of institutions involved will not be known until entries for the interdisciplinary project are received in December this year.

The number of primary schools sharing a headteacher has soared to 50 in Highland, latest figures for 2008 show. This is almost a third of the total of 159 primaries in 15 authorities with shared headships. The others range from 22 in Scottish Borders to two in East Dunbartonshire. The sharing of a head by two schools is seen as preferable by some councils to having a teaching head.

Glasgow City Council has decided that P1 pupils will begin attending school for the full day from the beginning of September, instead of the end. The council sees the move as part of its drive to raise attainment, and will bring continuity to children who already have full-time places in nursery schools.

The first 90 teachers from the ground-breaking teacher education programme at Aberdeen University will graduate in July. A conference last week, attended by Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter, who has funded Scottish Teachers for a New Era, heard how the initiative has met its aim of ensuring new teachers have the professional development they require to support them in the early stages of their career.

Contrasting decisions have been taken in the past week by two councils on whether schools should have the day off in honour of St Andrew's Day. Aberdeenshire voted against, while SNP-run Renfrewshire Council is to grant it to celebrate the final weekend of the Year of Homecoming. Aberdeenshire councillors also agreed that the Easter break should be at a fixed time, in the first two full weeks of April.

The Scottish teaching online resource for Higher and Advanced Higher, Scholar, has gone down under, thanks to a Scottish teacher who has emigrated to Australia. Catherine Campbell, a former teacher at Chryston High in North Lanarkshire, was given log-on approval by Heriot-Watt University, which pioneered the programme, so her students in Perth could use it for their modern languages studies. Scholar has more than 50,000 registered students.

"Significant progress" has been made with child-protection services in the West Dunbartonshire Council area since the first inspection report was published in June 2007. There was better monitoring and scrutiny, risk assessment had improved and health and medical staff were more involved.

The drive to tackle childhood obesity is about to learn lessons from a French connection, as eight areas of Scotland have been backed by Pounds 1.4 million from the Government in a project which will draw on two projects there. The participating towns in France saw cases of childhood obesity and maternal weight gain fall by almost a quarter over a number of years, while they rose elsewhere.

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