A Week in Education

26th June 2009 at 01:00
This week's education stories

Glasgow has topped the school performance league in one respect: its primary schools have more men in their classrooms than any other authority - 30 per cent of the council's 1,948 primary teachers are men (almost 600). This contrasts with East Dunbartonshire, where fewer than 5 per cent are male. A Freedom of Information request has revealed that more than 750 of Scotland's 2,153 primaries have no men as primary teachers.

The SNP has abandoned its 2007 election pledge to give pupils under 16 free access to council swimming pools. A parliamentary answer from Sports Minister Shona Robison stated that this was now "entirely a matter for individual local authorities, taking into account local needs and priorities". Labour's sports spokesman, Frank McAveety, said he was "appalled", pointing out that only Glasgow and Inverclyde - both Labour- run - provided year-round free access to swimming pools for this age group.

The first six teachers registered to teach Mandarin in Scotland were celebrated at an event hosted by the General Teaching Council for Scotland last week. Five of them, who were presented with their certificates by Madam Tan, the Chinese Consul General in Scotland, and Tony Finn, GTCS chief executive, will be teaching in Scotland. It was "an important milestone", Madam Tan said, and "breaking new and exciting ground", Mr Finn said.

Graham Donaldson, senior chief inspector of HMIE, is to join Glasgow University's education faculty in the autumn on a two-year secondment, following the announcement today of his retirement from the inspectorate. He will continue to advise the Scottish Government on education until his final retirement in two years' time. The Scottish Government is now looking for his successor at HMIE.

The number of teachers has increased by 5.4 per cent in the first three months of this year compared with the first quarter of 1999, according to the latest public sector employment figures; but there has been a 1.6 per cent fall since the first quarter of 2008. Other education staff (classroom assistants, music instructors, laboratory assistants, library and clerical staff) have seen a 57.6 per cent rise in the early part of the year compared with the beginning of 1999.

A former teacher who lost a disability claim for unfair dismissal on the grounds that pupils taunted him over his baldness is now asking an employment tribunal to find Falkirk Council guilty of discriminating against him because, he alleges, he was forced to retire when pupils called his sexuality into question. James Campbell, 62, now retired as an art teacher at Denny High, told the tribunal the abuse was linked: "At one stage, they'd call me baldy; at another, they'd call me poof."

The council said his complaint was time-barred. The tribunal will issue its written judgment at a later date.

Following our report last week on the fraught efforts to set up a national parent body, the Scottish Parent Teacher Council wishes to make clear that there is no crisis in its leadership. "We are absolutely fine, have good resources and are undertaking a planned and orderly succession process following the retirement of Judith Gillespie," it states.

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