A Week in Education

12th March 2010 at 00:00

The Dundee teacher who was sacked after being convicted of assaulting two abusive pupils has reached an out-of-court settlement with Dundee City Council. Mike Barile, a maths teacher at Lawside Academy at the time of the incidents in 2008, was later admonished by appeal court judges, who accepted he had been the victim of violence from the pupils. He reached the undisclosed settlement with the authority shortly before his case alleging unfair dismissal was due to be heard at an employment tribunal in Dundee.

The leader of Scotland's secondary heads has called for a new approach to leadership preparation, by allowing people to "circulate through the system". Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, has proposed that every local authority should create "associate education directors", who would be headteachers seconded for two years. He suggested it would benefit the directorate, the secondees and those who stood in for them as acting heads.

Youngsters leaving care are among the beneficiaries of a pound;50 million Big Lottery initiative announced last week. There are 15,000 children looked after by Scottish local authorities, of whom 3,500 are eligible for aftercare services which many do not receive. The move was welcomed by the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care, which noted that young care leavers "too often experience extremely difficult transitions due to a lack of support".

Parents are coming under "intense pressure" to register their children for school, according to the home-education charity Schoolhouse. It says it has received "numerous reports" from parents of three- and four-year-olds anxious that they are being pressurised and told they face losing a nursery place during the year before their child reaches school age. Schoolhouse claims parents are being "deliberately misled" into believing they are obliged to send their children to school.

Supporters of the Dance School of Scotland have started a campaign to stave off what they fear are closure plans for the residential provision for the centre in Knightswood Secondary in Glasgow. Backing has come from celebrities, including actress Dame Judy Dench, and a petition is being submitted to the Parliament's petitions committee on April 20. The campaigners point out that the school will be seriously undermined if the residential unit is axed, since 90 per cent of the pupils stay there.

A follow-through report on child protection in Dundee, which received a hard-hitting verdict from inspectors last June following the death of toddler Brandon Muir, has concluded that the authorities in the city are responding "quickly and positively" to making improvements. There was particularly "significant progress" in strengthening the leadership shown by chief officers.

In last week's feature on internet safety, two sentences critical of Glow were attributed to Neil Winton through an editing error. Mr Winton's criticisms were aimed not at Glow, but at the restrictive website-blocking practices in Scotland's schools. The following was attributed in error to Ewan McIntosh: "Virtual learning environments like Glow are the modern equivalent of the worksheet." We apologise to Mr McIntosh and Mr Winton.

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