A Week in Education
The Government has renewed its offensive against the legacy of PFIPPP inherited from its predecessors, revealing that repayment costs for privately-funded schools amounted to 5 per cent of council education budgets last year compared with 0.4 per cent in 2001. The 2009 figure equates to pound;244 million, an increase of pound;62m on the previous year. It represented a "dreadful legacy of Labour's PFI obsession," according to SNP MSP Christine McKelvie.
The annual conference of the Educational Institute of Scotland in June will be asked to back a call from its Glasgow members for a one-day strike over school budget cuts. If it is passed and the union's executive supports it and the ballot is successful, it will be the first teachers' strike since the mid-1980s.
Most children (more than 80 per cent) do not show any personality problems when they start primary school. This is revealed in the latest report from Growing Up in Scotland, the major study which is tracking the experiences of 8,000 toddlers and babies (born since 2002) through their childhood and into their teenage years. It suggests that there should be early screening before children begin pre-school education to support the "significant minority" who have conduct and emotional difficulties.
A new school in Glasgow has got off to a bad start. Cleeves Primary, formed out of the amalgamation of three former schools in the Priesthill and Nitshill areas, has been told by HMIE to make major improvements to its curriculum development, English and maths attainment, attendance procedures, self-evaluation and leadership. Inspectors said the school lacked a clear sense of direction and found it "weak" in four areas and "unsatisfactory" in self-evaluation. Councillor Paul Rooney, the executive member for education, said the findings were "clearly not acceptable".
Highland youngsters at risk are well supported, according to the latest child protection report by inspectors. The HMIE-led team gave services five evaluations of "very good" and one of "good". Clackmannanshire's efforts were not so well-judged, receiving one score of "very good", three of "good" and two of "satisfactory". Professionals in both council areas were urged to strengthen their assessment procedures.
The UK Department of Transport has rejected pleas from the Yellow School Bus Commission to introduce the US-style coaches to Britain. The commission, set up by Aberdeen-based First Group and chaired by former Home Secretary David Blunkett, has been told the scheme would be too costly and risk reducing the number of pupils who cycle or walk to school.
Glasgow City Council has made it clear it is not in a "boundary" dispute with South Lanarkshire Council over additional support needs. This follows parliamentary exchanges in which Children's Minister Adam Ingram urged Glasgow to review its policy on placing ASN pupils "as a matter of urgency" (TESS last week). But the council says the particular case which gave rise to his comments has been resolved to the parent's satisfaction and this had already been conveyed to Mr Ingram's boss, Education Secretary Michael Russell.