A week in education

26th March 2010 at 00:00

Parents of almost a quarter of the pupil intake of primary schools would prefer not to send their children to the local school. Latest figures show that 24 per cent of the P1 roll made placing requests in 2008-09; the most dissatisfied parents appear to be in Edinburgh (36.4 per cent) and the most contented on mainland Scotland in East Lothian (11.6 per cent). The overall proportion of the S1 roll which was subject to requests was 13.8 per cent, ranging from 34.3 per cent in East Renfrewshire to 1 per cent in Argyll. The number of placing requests increased last year by 4.9 per cent to 29,892, of which 83.8 per cent were granted.

The Labour scourge of Edinburgh's private schools in the 1970s has returned to haunt them. Lord George Foulkes, now an MSP, who was education convener in the old Lothian Regional Council from 1974 to 1979, has put down a parliamentary motion calling for independent schools to become part of the state sector. The Scottish Council of Independent Schools responded by suggesting that Lord Foulkes "seems to be stuck in the 1970s".

Pupils of a teacher who was shot dead at her home along with her husband are being offered counselling and support. Diane Harley, aged 47, taught at Meadowburn Primary in Bishopbriggs. Police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

An unusual boast has come from East Renfrewshire Council in the past week - it does suffer from deprivation. Irked by its "leafy suburb" image, the authority points out that 8 per cent of its pupils live in 20 per cent of the most deprived areas of Scotland. This is more than the 3 per cent in Aberdeenshire and East Lothian, two of East Renfrewshire's comparator authorities which perform less well than it does in educational terms. The council's message is that its efforts to improve attainment matter, and its pupils are not getting the best results in Scotland just because they are advantaged.

Figures on the attainment of school leavers, published this week, show that those in the least deprived parts of Scotland do almost twice as well as those in the most deprived. The "tariff scores" for the range of qualifications total 230 for pupils who are better off, compared with 124 for the most disadvantaged. Only 3.3 per cent left school with no qualification, but 6.3 per cent had no English pass and 6 per cent left with no maths.

The case of a teacher at a private school accused of helping pupils cheat in an exam is scheduled to come before the General Teaching Council for Scotland next month. Eric Tessier-Lavigne, a French teacher at Gordonstoun School, is accused of sending emails to 11 pupils with information about the second conversation topic of the GCSE French oral examination last year, just days before they were due to sit it. Pupils were instructed to destroy the emails after reading, according to the charges.

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