A week in education

28th August 2009 at 01:00
Roundup of the week's news in Scottish education

Another border dispute has flared up between Glasgow and East Renfrewshire. Two families on the outskirts of the city are seeking a judicial review after East Renfrewshire Council refused their children admission to St Ninian's High in Eastwood. The row centres on a deal between the authorities to allow pupils from a couple of Glasgow-run primaries to attend nearby St Ninian's. East Renfrewshire maintains this covers only specified streets, not the entire catchment.

Labour took up the political cudgels last week, following The TESS survey which revealed that one in seven of last session's probationers had found permanent jobs. The party's education spokesperson, Rhona Brankin, said the "damning" figures show "the true scale of Fiona Hyslop's disastrous tenure as Education Secretary". The Government maintains that newly- qualified teachers cannot all expect to get permanent jobs at the start of the school year.

It has been announced that a fatal accident inquiry will be held into the death of Irene Hogg in March 2008. She was headteacher of Glendinning Terrace Primary, Galashiels, when she was believed to have taken her own life in the wake of her school inspection. The inquiry will be held at Jedburgh Sheriff Court in December.

Teacher Support Scotland has had more than 8,000 telephone and online "interactions" since it launched its national support service last August. They include a "significant" number of teachers seeking advice from the online infocentre on issues ranging from dealing with disruptive pupils to coping with bereavement.


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Figures obtained from seven of the eight Scottish police forces show their officers are called out to Scottish schools at least 32 times every day. They are asked to investigate mostly assault, theft or vandalism, although allegations include wielding a knife and rape. Some of the figures, however, relate to offences "in and around" schools, and the police say call-outs to schools fell between 2007 and 2008.

Scotland's Children's Commissioner has underlined the importance of schools in keeping an eye on children suspected of being abused. In the wake of the latest report last week on the death of Dundee toddler Brandon Muir at the hands of his mother's boyfriend, Tam Baillie told The TESS that "the role of education is vital in assisting with the identification, assessment, information-sharing and ongoing support to children with additional needs or living in vulnerable circumstances". The Government has announced the appointment of a national co-ordinator to work with the 30 child protection committees in Scotland. One aim is to strengthen local professional networks, involving teachers, social workers, police and health officials.

Highland Council is to get the lion's share of the pound;2.15 million capital fund for Gaelic schools. Culture Minister Michael Russell, who is responsible for Gaelic, visited the Gaelic primary in Inverness and announced pound;1.5 million would be released to help the council accelerate progress in Portree and Fort William.

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