A Week in Education
School spending continues to rise, but it is as much to do with population density and school size as with largesse. The latest official figures show that the cost of primary education rose by 1.35 per cent in real terms to pound;4,833 per pupil and of secondary education by 2.47 per cent to pound;6,665 per pupil. But contrasting rural and urban costs are reflected in the expenditure range - from pound;4,261 per primary pupil in West Lothian to pound;8,839 in the Western Isles, and from pound;5,959 per secondary pupil in West Lothian to pound;11,245 in Shetland.
School days are the best days of our lives in Scotland, it seems. Research conducted by Scottish Opinion found that more than half (53 per cent) of the 1,000 adults contacted said they still kept in contact with friends from school, a quarter of them at least once a month. The poll was part of the Government's "Just Ask" campaign, which aims to raise parents' awareness of the issues that can affect their children's education.
Edinburgh's Boroughmuir High continues to reign supreme in the consumer stakes, retaining its title as Scottish Young Consumer of the Year. In a quiz final designed to test pupils' consumer knowledge, held at the Scottish Parliament last week, the school saw off competition from Linlithgow Academy, Ayr Academy and Dingwall Academy. Boroughmuir will now compete in the UK final, which is being held in Edinburgh in June.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has agreed the compromise deal on class sizes, free meals and nursery hours proposed last December by Education Secretary Michael Russell. It will allow councils to have 20 per cent of P1-3 pupils in classes of 18 or fewer, give priority for free meals for P1-3 pupils to those in deprived areas and expand pre-school provision. For the first time, an acceptable measure of smaller classes will include two teachers in a single classroom. The authorities and the Government said they would establish "appropriate and robust mechanisms and milestones" to monitor progress.
A new programme from Dundee United FC and Dundee City Council will see up to 12 elite young football players become S1 pupils at St John's High this August. Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson said he hoped the scheme would produce good role models capable of handling the pressures of a leading football club.
Edinburgh-based Bright Red Publishing was declared Education Publisher of the Year at the Independent Publishing Awards, held last Saturday at Old Windsor. Although it has been in business for less than two years, it was the only Scottish company shortlisted. It won recognition for landing the contract with the Scottish Qualifications Authority to publish past exam papers and for its "student-friendly" books published in a range of subjects.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority has announced the development of an app which students can download free from i-Tunes to build their own personal exam timetable on their mobile phone. Around 1,500 students have taken advantage of this at-a-glance facility, which also includes information and resources to help them prepare for their exams. The 2010 exams begin on April 28.
Primary education spending per pupil: pound;4,833 - up 1.35%.