A week in education

18th December 2009 at 00:00

Despite criticisms from School Leaders Scotland that they have not been adequately involved in planning for the new curriculum, it has emerged that 1,550 heads attended five Scottish Government regional events dealing with the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence. In a parliamentary answer, Education Secretary Michael Russell also made the point that, of 17 non-Government members of the CfE management board, four were from teacher organisations.

Once again, the annual publication of exam results this week has highlighted the stubborn link between education and poverty. The top- performing state schools, Jordanhill in Glasgow and Williamwood High in East Renfrewshire, saw 39 per cent of pupils achieve five-plus Highers; only 1.2 per cent and 2.8 per cent of their rolls are on free meals. At the "bottom" end, 10 schools with zero numbers in that category have between 15 per cent and 49.5 per cent on free meals. The range among authorities for five-plus Highers is from 28 per cent in East Renfrewshire to 5 per cent in Glasgow; the Scottish average is 10 per cent.

Pupils from deprived areas who go on to higher education stand as good a chance of getting a job as anybody else, according to the latest official statistics. Figures on the attainment and destinations of students qualifying from universities and colleges in 2007-08 show that 64.9 per cent of full-time first-degree graduates from the most deprived backgrounds were in permanent or temporary employment six months later; this compares with the overall figure of 66.8 per cent.

The figures for jobs and further training present a contrast with 2006-07, when a smaller number were in employment (58 per cent) but many more had gone on to further study or training (31 per cent, which fell to 18.9 per cent in 2007-08). The effects of the recession on the balance between the two groups will not have fed into these stats, which are for the year ending in June 2008.

A Paisley lollipop man has been named the UK's best. John Foley, a 56- year-old former firefighter, has only worked at Bushes Primary since January, but is said to have made a huge impression by going well beyond the basic requirements of the job. He talks to children about road safety, does handyman jobs, plays goalkeeper in fundraising beat-the-goalie- competitions, and is involved in all school activities. Mr Foley beat 20,000 entrants to become Kwik Fit Insurance Lollipop Person of the Year. He wins a pound;1,500 holiday voucher and the school receives pound;3,000.

The National Parks' first outdoor learning development officer is to be Alison Hammerton, former principal teacher of geography at Fernhill School in Rutherglen. She said her aim was to help the national parks become effective resources for delivering the Curriculum for Excellence through outdoor learning. The post is funded by Learning and Teaching Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage and seven local authorities.

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