A week in education

22nd January 2010 at 00:00

The role of head of education services at Perth and Kinross Council has been split following the departure of Chris Webb who has quit the council to join HMIE. Now two former curriculum managers, Sheena Devlin and Peter McAvoy, have been appointed to replace him, taking respective responsibility for the early yearsprimary and for secondary and additional support needs. According to the executive director of education and children's services, John Fyffe, the decision to split the role was taken because of the "significant development agenda" presented by Curriculum for Excellence.

The Labour Party continues to make hay over the SNP's difficulties on class sizes. It follows a reported admission in the weekend press by Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, that getting P1-3 classes down to 18 pupils might not even be achievable by the end of the next parliamentary term in 2015. He has proposed a compromise to local authority leaders to increase the number of pupils in such classes from 13 to 20 per cent by August. "A promise that is only 20 per cent met is 100 per cent broken," declared Iain Gray, the Scottish Labour leader.

Still on class sizes, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) has proposed that the Government's policy should be replaced by one of averaging the number of teachers in P1-3 to give an overall teacher:pupil ratio of 1:18 in infant classes. Its response to the Parliament's public petitions committee could have a significant influence on the Government's class size review, which is being conducted by David Cameron - the former ADES president.

A public relations professional has been appointed executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council. Eileen Prior will take over from retiring development manager Judith Gillespie next month. Ms Prior has two children in school, and is a government nominee on the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

The agencies in the Edinburgh council area have been given six evaluations of "satisfactory" for each of the indicators the inspectorate uses to judge child-protection arrangements. The HMIE-led team calls for greater support for families at an earlier stage before concerns become more serious. Last year, Graham Donaldson, the out-going head of the inspectorate, said a rating of "satisfactory" should not be regarded as good enough.

Contrasting fortunes for the main UK parties have emerged from a poll to test voting intentions. The survey of 1,000 teachers in England and Wales, carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Sutton Trust, revealed that 25 per cent who expressed a preference would vote Labour. In Wales, however, the Conservatives were ahead with 18 per cent support from teachers compared with 17 per cent for Labour and 16 per cent for Plaid Cymru.

An Edinburgh teacher has won the George D Gray award for the best undergraduate thesis in teacher education in Scotland. Kirsten Braden, 21, who graduated last year from Strathclyde University with a BEd (Hons) First Class, wrote on whether background music was beneficial to children as they learned. It found advantages were greater in some areas of the curriculum than in others. She is doing her probationer year at Gracemount Primary, Edinburgh.

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