A week in education

25th September 2009 at 01:00

Schools are struggling to cope with the influx of migrant pupils, according to a new HMIE report. Count Us In: A Sense of Belonging - whose findings were first revealed by The TESS in May - shows teachers lack confidence in dealing with children's needs and that guidance for schools is often conspicuous by its absence. Services for English as an additional language are badly overstretched, and teachers in rural areas, which historically have had less experience of migrant pupils, are faring worst.

Pre-appeal exam results for pupils in publicly-funded secondary schools show that attainment has remained stable in recent years, although girls continue to out-perform boys at every stage. At the top of the range, East Renfrewshire had 49 per cent of its S5 pupils gaining three-plus Highers, while Glasgow had the lowest, 13 per cent. The national average was 23 per cent.

The number of teachers employed in the public sector has fallen by 700 in the last three months compared with the same time last year, according to the latest Scottish Government statistics. The figures also showed that "other education staff" working for councils are down by 600 over the same period. The Government disputes the figures and says it believes the national teacher census figures, published every November, are more authoritative. The public sector employment figures represented the number of teachers employed by authorities, including supply teachers, as opposed to the actual number working in the classroom, said a spokesman.

The TES website is playing its part in global education, teachers from the independently-run Hamilton College report. As part of aid work carried out this summer in Burkino Faso by some of its S6 leavers, they connected up one school's computer room to the internet. Its greatest benefit was giving teachers access to the website, which helped improve their teaching, the Burkino Faso headteacher told the BBC.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise has announced plans to invest pound;25 million over five years to create a higher educationbusiness park on a 120-acre site on the outskirts of Inverness. But the board of Inverness College says it is still considering redeveloping its existing site and has accused HIE of trying to force it to move to the new campus.

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop has defended the Scottish Government's decision to remove the pound;10 and pound;20 payments for education maintenance allowances. In a parliamentary answer, she estimated that around 3,700 young people would be affected by the change in rules. Research showed that the maximum pound;30 payment had a greater impact on young people's participation than the lower payments, and that some of the most vulnerable youngsters benefited more from learning in a community or third sector setting than staying on in school or going to college.

Ashcraig and St Vincent's schools in Glasgow are not part of the current proposals by the city council to overhaul provision for special needs and they will not be merging, the council says (TESS September 11). However, staffing at Ashcraig has been reviewed to take account of falling numbers, and St Vincent's is part of a review of the arrangements for hearing- impaired youngsters.

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