A week in education
The much-maligned Scottish Futures Trust is to oversee the building of two schools in two separate authorities, in what is being called a "groundbreaking initiative" to promote collaboration and improve value for money. It is predicted that the single contract, to rebuild Eastwood High in East Renfrewshire and Lasswade High in Midlothian, will save at least pound;2 million. The two schools are the first secondaries to feature in the pound;1.25 billion Scottish Schools Investment Programme, the alternative to public-private partnerships, which is being funded by the Scottish Government and the local authorities.
The newest face among education directors in Scotland is Albert Henderson, who has been appointed corporate director of education and communities in Inverclyde. Mr Henderson, 58, is not completely "new", since he has been acting in the post. Prior to joining the administration in the council in 1998, he was headteacher of Notre Dame High in Greenock for two years.
A North Lanarkshire school has set up its own credit union. The council said the new service, at Our Lady's High in Cumbernauld, was "an excellent way for young people to learn about money and how to save for the future". S6 pupil Hayleigh Clark added that "first year students want to save for college or university, second years for school trips and fifth and sixth years for their first car, holidays and T in the Park".
A familiar face has returned to the education world, with the announcement that Anton Colella, the former chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, is to be the new chair of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS). He will remain in the post he has held for the past four years as chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. Mr Colella succeeds Sir David Edward, who stepped down when his son, John Edward, was appointed director of SCIS.
A pioneering school for troubled youngsters run by the charity Barnardo's is reported to be facing closure, as the squeeze on local authority budgets begins to hit the voluntary sector. Blackford Brae School in Edinburgh is in talks with the city's council, its main client, over the number of places the authority purchases from the charity. The cost for each pupil sent to the school is between pound;25,000 and pound;30,000 a year.
East Renfrewshire Council's education department is dropping its head of staff and continuing education post with Ginny Thorburn's retirement. It will now have four instead of five heads of service: Susan Gow, head of education services (staff, parents and corporate services); Mhairi Shaw, head of education services (inclusion, schools and quality improvement); Ken McKinlay, head of education services (culture, sport and continuing education); and Fiona Morrison, head of education services (school performance and provision). Next month will also see the retirement of Hugh Dougherty, doyen of education press officers. He is being replaced as PR manager by Lisa Mahon, from West Dunbartonshire Council.