A Week in Education

5th March 2010 at 00:00

The Scottish Qualifications Authority is on the move - but will keep its long-standing connection with Midlothian. It will relocate from its outdated accommodation in Dalkeith to 55,000 sq ft of rented premises in a business park just outside the town. This brings an end to staff uncertainty that the SQA might be centralised in its main Glasgow offices. The authority is confident that it will take possession of the new building in time to ensure "operational stability" for the 2012 exams and smooth delivery for the qualifications related to Curriculum for Excellence.

The final three councils to settle their 2010-11 budgets have now done so, with only Angus (run by a coalition of parties without the SNP) committing funds to reduce class sizes, providing free meals and extending nursery hours, which will cost it pound;500,000. Labour-run Midlothian, however, plans to increase P2-3 classes to 30 pupils and return S1-2 English and maths classes to 30, which will save it pound;462,000. And the Western Isles (Ind) has set aside nothing to reduce class sizes, but will spend pound;195,000 to phase in free school meals and additional nursery hours.

Voluntary organisations should be allowed to run new schools for parents, according to the think tank Reform Scotland. A consultation paper, Voluntary Power, suggests that there should be a major transfer of power from government to voluntary bodies to improve choice, accountability and value for money.

A joint inspection of child protection services in the East Dunbartonshire area has given two evaluations of "very good" and four of "good". It found that staff communicated well and leadership was effective, and the report simply called for eternal vigilance.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland have voted overwhelmingly - by 83 per cent - to take strike action in an attempt to force the management at the Springboig St John's School for troubled youngsters in Glasgow to keep the school open and preserve their jobs.

Labour is demanding that students who go to college as a stepping stone to university should be exempt from council tax. It believes this would encourage more students to use the so-called "two-plus-two" articulation route from FE to HE, typically two years of an HND at college followed by the final two years of their course at university, an option currently taken by some 2,700 students.

The threatened Castle Toward residential centre in Dunoon looks as if it has been saved from closure, following a deal between Argyll and Bute Council, which owns it, and Actual Reality, which operates it. The council will shortly place it on the open market. It is expected that the operators will then make an offer to buy it.

Today is the closing date for nominations to the annual Scottish Education Awards, which can be done quickly online. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Glasgow on June 18.


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