A week in education

12th February 2010 at 00:00

A Children's Summit - designed to improve services for Scotland's most vulnerable children - is to be hosted by the Scottish Government in June amid fears that financial pressures could erode services. Staff working in the NHS, social work and child protection, education, police and voluntary sectors will be among those invited to the event, as well as Scotland's Children's Commissioner, Tam Baillie. Ministers will also meet groups of young people prior to the event. Children's Minister Adam Ingram, who will be among the ministers in attendance, said: "We must ensure that, despite the pressures on us all, we continue to protect children's services as we learn and build on the good work taking place."

Eight out of 10 young Scots not in education, employment or training (Neets) still hope to achieve their dream career, according to The Prince's Trust, which this week launched a campaign to save an "undiscovered generation". The YouGov report, which involved more than 1,000 16 to 24-year-old Neets across the UK, also revealed that 73 per cent had been employed for three months or more and were being forced to cut back on essentials like heating and food to make ends meet. The "Undiscovered" campaign calls for the Government, businesses and individuals to support the young in their quest to become the mechanics, chefs and entrepreneurs of the future.

Cases of pupils using their mobile phones to help them cheat in their exams have more than doubled in a year. The number of incidents of "malpractice" involving mobile phones rose from 49 in 2008 to 113 last year. Some 314 pupils were punished for cheating in Standard grades, Highers and other qualifications in 2009. This is up from the 257 who were penalised for cheating the previous year.

East Renfrewshire Council has accepted a legal ruling that found its plans to remove hundreds of homes from the catchment area of a flagship school were unlawful. The council education committee decided not to appeal against the decision, which also found the catchment area policy for St Ninian's High in Giffnock, pursued since 1996, was "wrong". A long- standing agreement allows pupils from some Glasgow primaries to attend St Ninian's. However, East Renfrewshire has always insisted this covers only specified streets, not the area as a whole, leaving those living in new developments no automatic right of entry.

Holyrood's education committee kicked off its inquiry into the way councils spend their pound;5.4 billion annual budget on teaching and children's services last week. The Scottish Government has no control over the way key education policies, such as class sizes, are implemented by councils, officials conceded. If a council failed to deliver a government pledge, its budgets would not be hit, David Henderson, head of the Scottish Government's local government division, told MSPs. The committee also heard that the funding allocated to key policies by councils was also not known by ministers.

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