A week in Education

26th February 2010 at 00:00

Glasgow, Scotland's largest council, has a new education convener following the appointment of Jonathan Findlay as chair of Strathclyde Passenger Transport, which has lost three senior figures as a result of allegations about their expenses. Paul Rooney who, like Councillor Findlay is a lawyer by profession, takes on the role of executive member for education. He was previously convener of Strathclyde Police Authority and a non-executive board member of the Scottish Police Services Authority.

Figures from Scotland's councils show they are employing around 2,000 teachers past retirement age, the majority being women working in primary schools. Only seven councils employ fewer than 20 teachers above the pension age of 60 for women and 65 for men. And 85 per cent of teachers who formally requested to work beyond those ages last year were given permission. Ken Macintosh, Labour's schools spokesperson, said this was "keeping newly-qualified teachers out of the profession". The Government has asked councils to reduce the number of retired teachers doing supply work to create more opportunities for new teachers.

The Liberal Democrats' Scottish leader, Tavish Scott, is forecasting a "perfect educational storm" this August, because schools will not be ready to implement Curriculum for Excellence. "The Government must guarantee that schools, not local authorities but schools, have the resources to implement the new approach," he said. "If the Government cannot make that guarantee, then there is no alternative, given the financial catastrophe, but to delay its introduction."

A leading Catholic headteacher has expressed regret at the loss of a "Catholic world" which brought together school, parish and home. John Stoer, the head of St Aloysius' College in Glasgow, was quoted, in advance of a lecture at the school from historian Tom Devine, as saying this was "quite painful" for his generation and he called for action to "reinvigorate" the church and encourage young people to remain faithful to it.

Only 19 per cent of youngsters who left care at the end of March last year headed for education, employment or training, compared with 85 per cent for the age group as a whole, the latest figures show. They range from 5 per cent in Scottish Borders to 56 per cent in East Renfrewshire. The total number of children looked after by local authorities rose again by 3 per cent to 15,288 - 1.4 per thousand of those aged 18 and under, ranging from 2.8 in Glasgow to 0.5 in East Dunbartonshire.

As warnings mount over the increasing financial pressures on colleges and universities (p18), Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art are in merger talks. Mary Senior of the University College Union said this was "indicative of the financial situation that's currently facing the higher education sector". But the Government has had to deny reports that Moray House School of Education at Edinburgh University could become the latest teacher education institution to lose its identity. Claims that the university was to dispose of the 162-year-old campus were based on an erroneous parliamentary answer by Education Secretary Michael Russell, which has now been corrected. The university said it was firmly committed to the campus.

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