A week in education
The number of NEET school-leavers rose from 12.5 per cent in MarchApril 2008 to 15.4 per cent at the same time this year. The increase was almost entirely accounted for by the falling number of leavers who had a job; those going on to further or higher education actually went up from 47.9 per cent to 51 per cent during the year. The figures, compiled by Skills Development Scotland, are from a follow-up survey of pupils who left school in 2007-08 and were initially surveyed in September 2008.
The Govan Law Centre has accused local authorities of "pulling the wool over parents' eyes" on placing requests. The centre represented an East Lothian parent in a case which led to the landmark Court of Session ruling last year that ministerial restrictions on primary class sizes below 33 were unlawful, a body blow to the Government's drive to limit P1-3 classes to 18 pupils. The centre now says that councils are turning down placing requests on the grounds that a class is full, even where it has fewer than 33 pupils. Many councils are using a 25-pupil maximum in the early primary years, but this is a matter of government guidance, not law.
A team from Boroughmuir High in Edinburgh has become UK Young Consumers of the Year 2009, beating off competition from schools in England, Scotland and Wales. It is the second time the school has become UK champion in the contest, run by the Trading Standards Institute. The boys - Scott Duncan, Malcolm Perry, Cameron Roscoe and Ruaridh Beveridge - had to demonstrate awareness of their environment and of what they eat, what they buy and how they manage their money.
Schools Minister Keith Brown this week announced that a Linlithgow software design company has been awarded the contract to create a new online assessment resource for teachers. Intrallect will develop the test items to support the new 3-18 curriculum. Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop has already pledged that the 5-14 national assessment bank will not be "switched off" until the new system is up and running (TESS, March 6).
More than 400 teachers in the private sector are not registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland - one in seven. The Scottish Council of Independent Schools encourages its members to employ only registered teachers but points out that not all staff are eligible for registration. The GTCS is pressing for closure of what it regards as a loophole and the Government says it has "no plans to make this a legislative requirement at this time."
A board member of the Scottish Qualifications Authority claims she has been replaced as the parent voice by the man who was forced to resign as chair of Transport Initiatives Edinburgh, the body responsible for the city's controversial trams project. Judith Gillespie, the retiring development manager of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, says she reacted to the appointment of Willie Gallagher with "utter dismay". The Government says Mr Gallagher commended himself because he has "knowledge and experience of driving business change at a senior level".