A week in education

17th July 2009 at 01:00
A round-up of this week's big education stories in Scotland

The new head of the education and lifelong learning directorate in the Scottish government is Leslie Evans, who is currently working in the culture, external affairs and tourism directorate. Ms Evans, aged 50, joined the civil service in 2000 and once worked for the council in Edinburgh in the arts and recreation fields. She takes over as director- general of Fiona Hyslop's portfolio from Philip Rycroft, who has left to work in Whitehall for Lord Mandelson. He is seen as a front-runner to head the civil service in Scotland after Sir John Elvidge, who turns 60 in 2011.

The number of student applications to UK universities and colleges is up 9.7 per cent on this time last year. There are larger-than-average increases in journalism (27.2 per cent), aerospace engineering (22.5 per cent), mechanical engineering (19.1 per cent) and hospitality, leisure, tourism and transport (17.4 per cent). The figures from admissions service UCAS show a particularly steep rise in mature applicants, with an increase of 18.8 per cent from those aged over 25. Applicants from Scotland increased by 5.9 per cent to nearly 36,000, but there were larger increases in England (10.1 per cent) and Wales (11 per cent). Total overseas applicants rose 9.9 per cent, with a 15.4 per cent increase in those from outside the EU.

Former Aberdeen College principal Rae Angus will not face court action following a police investigation. Mr Angus, 62, resigned shortly before being reported to the procurator fiscal over an alleged breach of the peace, which is believed to have involved the wearing of "inappropriate" clothing, at his home in the Aberdeenshire village of Newburgh. The case has been dealt with through the "diversion from prosecution" process, which is used for minor charges.

A principal PE teacher is at the centre of claims that pupils passed assessments they had never taken. Liam Hornby, of St Matthew's Academy in Saltcoats, is on sick leave while North Ayrshire Council investigates. Action was taken after a fifth-year pupil expressed concern to a guidance teacher.

A Renfrewshire special school was Scotland's only winner in the UK-wide personal finance education awards. Capability Scotland's Corseford School, in Kilbarchan near Johnstone, won the Best Cross-Curricular Approach category in the Royal Bank of Scotland awards, which earned it Pounds 1,500.

The latest campus to bridge the religious divide has been completed in Blairgowrie. Newhill Primary and Nursery will share a new "community campus" in the town with St Stephen's Primary, the first of six being developed by Perth and Kinross Council as part of a Pounds 136 million "investment in learning" programme.

The latest initiative to get more pupils cycling to school will focus on Scottish girls aged nine to 16. In a bid to tackle their decreasing levels of activity, sustainable transport charity Sustrans has been awarded Pounds 230,000 over two years to persuade girls to get on their bikes at least once a week. At present, only 2 per cent do so, and the charity aims to boost this to 15 per cent in targeted schools.

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